Saturday, December 31, 2011


I made it I made it I MADE IT I MADE IT!!

The final scarf of the year. All posted and made and shared with anyone who happens by. This one took me longer than any other scarf. I used the smallest needles that I've used on any scarf. I did tiny cables and by a long shot there were more cable crossings than any of my other cables scarves put together. It only seems right that the final scarf should be the biggest effort as a way of finishing my year with a bang.

This one is a free pattern available on Ravelry called the Celtic Cable Scarf. The pattern was very well written, but it was all written and no chart, so be ready to either chart it out yourself or just pay close attention on the first repeat so you can refer to the scarf itself for the rest of the scarf instead.

If I'm being totally honest with myself, instead of being excited for completing my challenge, I'm actually disappointed that it's over. It feels a little bit like a gradation. I feel very accomplished, but on the other hand I feel like I've come to an end.

When it all comes down to it, I think the positives outweigh the postpartum depression. I'm very happy that I made my goal. I'm very happy that I had so many scarves to give as gifts for Christmas and still have many more to give to someone who needs them. I certainly did devastate my stash (though it remains quite overwhelming). I even managed to learn a few new techniques and new ways to use old techniques. I learned a little bit more about most people's likes and dislikes when it comes to outerwear. Finally I think the most important thing I learned was quite a lot about time management! I'll never be late for another gift giving situation and I recognize the importance of planning ahead. If I can use these lessons to my advantage in the future, I'll have used this year to great advantage.

It's been a great year and I'm looking forward to 2012!! Be on the lookout for more posts from Kevin. He has a blogging project about Disney feature length animated movies. Watch for me and my hopefully many finished objects. Most of all have a safe and Happy New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 364 and Memories

As we draw to a close, I found myself with lots of small scraps and with a clear idea on what type of texture and feel each bit of yarn was best. Not only that, I often had a clear memory of the original scarf. In the end I decided not to break apart the memory and the scrap but bring them together. I repeated some of the exact textures from the original scarves and I used one or two new textures as well.

I have to be honest: I didn't keep track of sizes, numbers or designs. I figured they were all a bunch of rectangles and one way or another, I would find a way to get the puzzle pieces to fit.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 363 and Protection

It's about stinkin' time it started getting cold around these parts! It's making me worry about global warming all over again. It makes me glad I've become adept at making neck protection. Yet, with all this neck protection, I often overlook the other parts of the head that need protecting. Oh sure, I've got a hood and a ninja mask and a couple of snug cowls that could double as headbands, but this time around, I made a cowl that could really stand up on its own. In fact, I begrudgingly added a pucker when I realized I probably couldn't see over the top of it. At least I'll be warm!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 362 and Stretch

Had another ball of this crazy colored yarn. I think that yarn with a lot of short color changes lends itself really well to novelty stitches. Anything where the yarn sits on top of the fabric heading either in a different direction or extending over more than one row really highlights the complexity of the yarn and makes what are usually very simple patterns seem complex as well.

This was an easy garter stitch scarf, but certain columns of stitches were slipped and elongated with a very fancy result.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 361 and the Popped Collar

Evenly spaced increases make this scarf fan out around the shoulder area allowing it to stand up straight and stay around the neck without tying or wrapping. This is particularly good for people who don't like a lot of bulk or tightness around the neck and yet still want full wind and cold protection.

Size L hook
Heavy worsted weight yarn
Tapestry needle

Chain 100.
Base row: SC into the second chain and the next 38 chains. 2 SC into the next chain. SC into the next 21 chains. 2 SC into the next chain. SC into the next 39 chains.
From here on, the pattern recipe relies on your ability to recognize the increase from the previous row. Take a moment to look at your stitches and identify the double V going into 1 stitch.
Row 1: Chain 3, turn. Work DC into the second and every following stitch to the increase from the previous row. Work DC into the first and 2 DC into the second of the two increase stitches. DC into the next 21 sts. Work 2 DC into the next stitch (this should line up with the first of the increase stitches from the previous row) DC into every stitch to the end.
Row 2: Chain 1, turn. Work SC into every stitch to the increase from the previous row. SC into the first and 2SC into the second stitch. SC into the next 21 sts. 2 SC into the next stitch (which should be the first part of the increase from the previous row). SC into every stitch to the end including the top of the turning chain.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until the scarf is as wide as you'd like. I choose to make a stripe near the end for interest, but this could just as easily be done anywhere and on every row if you so chose.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 360 take 3 and Finally

After all of these days and all of these scarves and all of these experiments, I think I've finally come up with my absolute favorite go to scarf for last minute gift giving. It's unisex in design (though colors could sway it one way or the other. It's thick enough to be warm but not so thick that it's uncomfortable. It's incredibly easy and fast, but has just a little bit of interest, yet isn't so very interesting that someone with very conservative fashion sense would be turned off. It also can be as inexpensive or as lush as you choose depending on the yarn. I think this would be a winner for anyone.

I went with acrylic for mine. I like the easy care and the low price point. Wool would be excellent and cotton would work great too. I think I would probably avoid nylon/rayon shimmery things as I think there would be so much drape as to look limp and unappealing.

2 or more colors of worsted weight or aran weight yarn Choose something lofty for best effect.
Size L crochet hook
Tapestry needle

Base: Chain any number you want. Mine had 145 chains.
Working into only the back loop (not the back bump) DC into the 4th and every following chain.
Cut the yarn and pick up a new color.
First round: Make a slip knot and place it on the hook. Yarn over the hook, pull up a loop through any random stitch on the first color. Complete a DC as normal. DC into every stitch. *Now you make a corner by making 2 more DC into the final stitch, DC once around the post, DC 3 times into the underside of the same stitch. DC once into the underside of every following stitch.* Repeat from * Cut the yarn and use your needle to heal the single stitch seam.
Every following round: Make a slip knot with the next color and place it on the hook. Yarn over the hook, pull up a loop through any random stitch on the previous round. Complete a DC as normal. *DC into every stitch until the corner stitch. 3DC into the corner stitch.* Repeat from * Cut the yarn and use your needle to heal the single stitch seam.

Use completely different colors for every round if you wish. The base row will need about 28 yards. Each following round will use up about 50-55 yards. You can even do this with just one color. The pictured scarf is only 3 rounds and almost 4 inches wide coming in at just under 6 feet in length. Every round will increase both the width and the length by 2 rows.

You could also use this concept for a very nice throw blanket. Change the beginning chain to 30 and go to it. It will naturally take many more yards and many many more rounds, but you'll be able to follow the pattern recipe exactly as written.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 360 take 2 and Christmas!!

Yes, Christmas day. The day and indeed the season when it becomes okkay, nay, necessary to wear horrifying sweaters, silly hats, tacky jewelry and green and red together and in equal portions. I think nearly everyone has encountered this colorful weirdness that seems to only pop up during this time of year. I of course had some variegated Christmas colored yarn that had been languishing in my stash and now seems the best time to finally use it up.

Nothing too spectacular here.

1 skein worsted weight yarn in Christmas colors (held double throughout)
Scrap amount of white worsted weight yarn (held double throughout)
Size N (10 mm) hook
Blunt tapestry needle

Chain 101.
Begin with Xmas yarn:
Row 1: Single crochet into the second and every following chain.
Row 2: Chain 3, turn. Double crochet into the second and every following SC
Switch to White:
Row 3: Chain 4, turn, Treble crochet into the second and every following DC as well as the top of the turning chain.
Xmas colors again:
Row 4: Chain 3, turn. Double crochet into the second and every following TC as well as the top of the turning chain.
Row 5: Chain 1, turn. Single crochet into every DC as well as the top of the turning chain.

Weave in and cut all the hanging ends of yarn and wear proudly on Christmas and for much of the month of December.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 360 and Tuck

Hmmm... I don't think my math is right. I thought for sure I've been very clear with my day numbering, but today is the day before Christmas and if I keep counting until New Year's Eve, that puts me at 366.... which would be fine if this was a leap year. Oh well. I guess I'll make tomorrow Day 360 as well and call it a wash. I know I managed every day so I can't be upset about something small like that, can I?

ANYWAY! I've always thought that scarves should be further categorized. If not always then at least since I started making scarves every single day. I like to think of this one as a "tuck" scarf. It's short enough that you can tuck it into your coat to keep your neck and chest warm but not so long that you end up extremely bulked up from the extra fabric. A small bit of texture gives it some extra interest.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 359 and Function

It's always funny to me when I wear something that happens to have a lot of holes in it because there is inevitably someone who is convinced that there is no way something with holes can keep you warm. It's always very hard to explain the physics of it, but holes really can keep you warm.

Have you ever seen insulation before it's put into the walls? It's very lightweight and very squishy and not at all dense. If you were to shrink yourself down a little bit you would see that it's layers and layers of fiberglass with lots of air in between. The air holds onto heat (the heat that comes from your own skin) and keeps it close to you. While solid fiber would keep you warm, the air held in place does the same thing without the bulk.

I also find that a thick scarf can be pretty stiff so the big holes I've added to the center (a filet crochet hole worked over 2 rows) serves as a very comfortable place to fold over a shawl collar.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 358 and Twizzles

The cutest little not pompoms you ever saw dangle at each end of this skinny scarf. Whenever I make a skinny scarf I try to make it longer than usual so that it can be wrapped around the neck at least twice unless it's just for decoration. This one is definitely fluffy and deserves to face the storms.

It's a simple length wise scarf in double crochet except for the twizzles which are super easy to add as you go. For each twizzle chain an additional 10 stitches at the end of the row. Double crochet 3 times into the 4th stitch and 3 double crochet into each of the following 6 chains. At this point you should be lined back up to continue the plain double crochet section of the scarf.

Mine is only 2 thick rows wide, but yours could be as big as you want it to be! There's plenty of room to add a twizzle at the end of every single row if you wanted to. I only had about one third of a skein of Homespun by Lion Brand held double on a size P hook. I didn't count the chains but I stopped at the 5 foot mark. Go crazy with yours! :D

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 357 and Whiskers

This is a cute little stitch pattern that always reminds me of a kitty's face. If you were so inclined, you could add a pair of button eyes above each set of whiskers.

It's a very easy stitch to create. Work the surrounding stitches in anyway you'd like and just insert the motif wherever you feel the need. The motif is as follows:

Row 1, 3, 5: With yarn in front, slip 5 stitches purl wise
Row 2, 4, 6, 8: Purl back
Row 7: Knit 2, pass your needle below the loose yarn in front of the work Knit the center stitch such that the loos yarn is caught behind the stitch you just made, Knit 2.

I think they look best when surrounded by stockinette. Just make sure you hold your yarn loosely when you slip the 5 stitches or when it comes time to catch them all again, you may pucker your fabric enough that the hardest blocking won't get it to lie flat.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 356 and Grout

If the garter stitches are bricks then the stockinette stitch is the very very wide grout. Now that I'm winding down and now that I've had the chance to give away a great many of the scarves that I've made, a very real trend emerges (at least among the people that I know and the people that I'm related to).

1) The general public seems to prefer scarves over cowls.
2) The general public prefers very very neutral colors (everything black, brown and grey was the first to go)
3) The general public prefer either extremely simple texture or glitzy furry stuff.

The first and the second might be easily explained as my family and the folks I know take very few fashion risks. The third surprises me very much. I really thought that lush cables and entrelac and lace would be more popular than plain ribbing and garter stitch, but those very plain items were most certainly the first to go followed quickly by the fancy fur novelty things.

I suppose that this is a response to what I've learned. I most certainly want people to enjoy my scarves and if giving them something a little more conservative will give them joy, then that is what I will create. It also makes me appreciate much more the people that I know with more adventurous taste. I feel like I've bonded with them that much more.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 355 and Pinch

Oh gosh... 10 days to go... oh geez.... Oh... oh...

Is it strange to feel like a habit has formed? I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself when New Year's rolls around and I don't require myself to have a finished project every single day. How will I cope??

Here I was trying to use up a small bit of leftover yarn. I wasn't sure how long the yarn would last and had to frog the entire scarf twice before I came up with this one. I left some spaces of just chain stitch and on the final row double crocheted over the chains in to the very first row of stitching which pinched the fabric into pretty little puffs. The scallops are rather pretty and face framing. I'll draft this quickie pattern out sometime soon, but for now, I need to head to the workplace.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 354 and Addition

I'm getting way down to the end of my stash, the end of my project and if we're being completely honest, the end of my ideas. I'm sure they're in there and there are plenty of them, but pulling them out rapid fire is getting to be a problem.

I think I like many are sometimes folly to the idea that inspiration comes out of thin air. While this is certainly true once in a while, it's much more common to be inspired by an outside source. I've made plenty of items inspired by nature, cities, sports teams, the yarn itself, my geeky interests, other people's patterns (always credited! :D), and goodness knows what else. This time, I thought I'd let experience inspire me.

It's nearing Christmas the traditional gift giving season for Christians and secularists alike and it's a perfect time to unload my stash. As I was organizing my giant pile, I start coming across scarves that I don't even remember making, but surely I mist have because I stored them all together.

Quite a long time ago I made a scarf using rings of T-shirt and used a rectangle of crochet sewed into a tube to hold them all together and prevent them from tangling. Quite a long time later, I made a scarf that was all chained loops and the loops were each attached to the next by one single crochet stitch. By coincidence, I happened to come across them at almost the same time and thought OH! This... plus this.... equals.... THAT! It just goes to show that sometimes you can be your own inspiration and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

oh stuffnfluff, that picture is stinky....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 353 and Felt

Are you kidding me?? It took me nearly the entire year to get around to felting some wool? I must be out of my mind. There are so many awesome things that can be done with felt depending on the level of feltitude not actually a word you achieve!

Not being graced with a top loading washer that can be stopped at any time during the wash cycle, I had to felt this one by hand and so the level of feltitude is very mild here, but some of the benefits are already clear.

What was once a very scratchy and quite stiff wool is now draping and much softer. The stitches have lost some of their definition, so a simple stitch like stockinette or garter is fine to use and makes even something very large into a speedy project. Waiting for your item to dry can be agony, but take advantage of a drying rack and a fan (and even a hairdrier if you really want to move things along), and you'll see much faster results.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 352 and Travels

I wonder where my stash comes from sometimes. I know some of it has been gifted to me from very generous people who just want to see their unloved yarn find a good home where it will be used and made into interesting things (and that's very flattering in and of itself). I know some of it comes from garage sales, thrift stores and recycled yarn. I've even been known to buy it new once in a while!

What I'm wondering is where all the rest of it comes from? Every sometimes, I'll be digging through the stash and find a scrap ball of yarn that I have never ever seen before. I'm not saying my memory is perfect, but when I find something distinct, one would think I'd have a memory of it.

This scarf was made from just such a scrap ball of yarn. It was slightly glittery, slightly variegated, slightly fuzzy, and felt like wool. I paired it with a couple of creamy colored yarns and made a traveling filet stitch in the center to make sure it lasted as long as I could get it to last. I wish so very much that I knew what the brand of yarn was because I would certainly buy some if it. Alas, I believe it will be a mystery forever.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 351 and Starburst

There is a particular stitch that I particularly love and it looks particularly nice in this particular yarn. But enough of that nonsense.

The fact is, this stitch is so crazy hard to find in stitch dictionaries because it has so many different names. If you don't have it memorized, you'd be forced to go through each dictionary page by page to look at every photo to find it. Luckily, I'm going to go ahead and copy it down for you right here. It has one tricky stitch that isn't really too hard to master and the results are stunning most especially when used with a heavily colored yarn as here or a greatly contrasting monochromatic yarn such as a tonal hand dyed yarn.

Daisy stitch/Trinity stitch/Blackberry stitch/bramble stitch/Star stitch/ all those other names for it. Sheesh!!

Special stitch- PYP3: P3tog, do not slide stitches off the left needle, YO, P3tog through the same stitches and then slide them off. You have decreased 2 and increased 2 all in the same stitch.

Cast on in multiples of 4 +5.
Row 1: *K1, PYP3* Repeat to last stitch, K1 (wrong side)
Row 2: Knit across
Row 3: K1, P1, *K1 PYP3* Repeat to last 3 stitches, K1, P1, K1.
Row 4: Knit across

If you have trouble working this stitch pattern, I suggest using a larger needle. The special stitch requires a lot of room for maneuvering. Ordinarily the yarn pictured would have required a size 10 needle, but this scarf was done on a size 15. I could possibly have gone up to 17 and still had nice results. Another tip, use needles with very long points. Short blunt needles won't have as much room for you to maneuver and long slender tips will help you get through those 3 stitches without stressing out your hands.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 350 and Taupes

Some colors names are just too darned vague to pin down. I gathered up a bunch of my taupes and made a nice spongy cowl with bobble bits. It's soft and it's comfy so if they taupes don't match, I'm not bothered even a little bit. Let the mismatched things match, says I!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 349 and Shimmer

Novelty yarns have their place, but some yarns sit on the very border of novelty land. Anything with a thread of metallic bits often balance carefully here. This scarf uses Vanna's Choice Glimmer and definitely earns my seal of approval. Granted, I'm a really laid back and easy to please knitter. Some of the yarns I've worked with in the past year and what most folks would consider pretty darn gross. (We're talking 30 year old Orlon gross) I always assume that there's a way I can make a yarn work. If it was as heinous as all that then it wouldn't be on the market.

Vanna'a Choice (And keep in mind I haven't worked with any of Vanna's yarns just yet) doesn't come close to the heinous scale. The metallic bits aren't intrusive and aren't sticky and tinsely feeling as some tend to be and really does show quite a lot of shine despite the lack of it in my less-than-professional picture. I used a couple of baby yarns which happen to be the same weight to lessen the sparkle, but if I had had 3 skeins of Glimmer I feel confident in using it!

Here's the recipe:

3 skeins of Vanna's Choice Glimmer (They can all be the same color or you can use different colors. I think this would look pretty amazing with silver, gold, and platinum)
Size N Crochet hook
Tapestry needle.
Chain 111 and use the pattern "Hardy Edge" from Crochet Edges and Trims: 150 Stitches. Cut the yarn.
When you've finished the edge, turn the scarf so the chain edge is at the top. Start a new yarn and slip stitch into the available chain bump working rows 2-4 of the pattern. Cut the yarn.
Weave in all ends.

Don't be alarmed by the gigantic open lace! The hook and yarn combination makes a soft fabric that easily squishes up around your neck to provide nice warm layers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 348 and Growing

Sometimes I have an idea that's more of a concept than anything else. This is definitely one of those times.

If you're an organized person, this is a really fast 15 to 30 minute project. If you're disorganized this will send you into a wrath of frustration for weeks. Here's what I did. I made a slip knot and put it on a hook. I chained one stitch. I grabbed another yarn, made a slip knot, put it on the hook and made one chain stitch using both yarns. I grabbed another yarn and did the same with the third stitch. Et cetera Etc etera Et cetera. By the end I really don't know how many yarns I had all together. I kept having to switch to a larger hook far earlier than I was expecting. Barely a third of the way through I was already just using fingers only. Had I continued much farther, I expect I'd have been able to put my whole arm through the loops.

Most interesting to me is the way it looks like a real lock of braided hair (not in the color but in the texture. I've always noticed how a braid of hair got so small so very quickly and this scarf did basically the same thing but backwards.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've made a mess of my yarn stash and will be untangling for a few days. XP

Homework: Deciding when, why and what to write about

This past year I made a goal for myself. If you've been reading or even glancing casually, I think it's pretty obvious what that goal was and whether or not I was successful.

The year is now almost over. I have a few days still to go but I feel confident in completing them. This of course leaves me the question of what I should do next year. Posting every single day was I must admit, incredibly taxing. If I didn't have a full time job, and blogging itself was my job, I bet I could do a daily thing again next year. Next year though I'd better slow it down a little bit.

The way I see it, there are three main questions that I have to ask myself:

When should I write (or how often)? Daily was a bit much, but weekly is a cinch. I do think that having a schedule and meeting deadlines is the best way to prevent stagnation. I think perhaps I should have no less than a weekly goal. I also would like to add to that an unrelated monthly goal. This way I have at least two different subjects to talk about and keep me from getting bored.

Why am I writing? I write because I want to share what I enjoy. So to answer this question, I suppose I have to decide what I enjoy. Naturally I enjoy working with yarn. I really do enjoy finishing things. I want to finish all my hibernating projects. I want to work on turning some of my favorite scarves from the past year into workable patterns to share with everyone.

Not related to yarn, I really enjoy learning about and experiencing the area around where I live. Even though I've been in this area for about 5 years, there are many neighborhoods, restaurants, parks and other points of interest I've never been to or even driven by.

Sometimes I just enjoy talking about nothing in particular.

SO! What am I writing? Results!
  • Because I want to finish my projects, I want to have at least 1 post a month that is a finished hibernating project, or a finished pattern to share.
  • Because I don't think I can help myself, I want to have 1 post a month that is a new (finished!) project just to show off a little.
  • Because there are some new techniques I've been meaning to try and practice at, I want to have 1 post a month that is a progress report on my new endeavors.
  • Because I want to enjoy my area, I want to have at least 1 post a month about my visit to somewhere I've never before been.
  • Because sometimes I have something to say, I'll post any extra posts about any extra subjects that I happen to feel like posting about any time I happen to feel like posting.
That gives me a little bit of structure (4 posts a month) with more than 1 subject (3 about yarn, 1 about travel, and mystery posts) as well as a lot of freedom.

I think I need to expand my blog roll by quite a lot as well. After my scarf project is over, I'm going to take some time to go through all the blogs I'm following and really flesh that list out. If any readers out there think that their blog might also fit well in the roll and I haven't already discovered you, feel free to speak up :)

Interestingly, I think this year of scarves has actually made me realize that I enjoy deadlines. Is that weird? Ha!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 347 and Festivity

The closer you get to the holidays the more you want to dress up in the spirit of the holiday. I came from a Christmas family and to me nothing says Christmas like the three classic colors: red, green and white. I made this scarf with the basic diagonal garter stitch method.
(Row 1: Kfb, k across to last 2 stitches, K2tog. Row 2: Knit across)
Just doing my part to spread holiday cheer (but I won't dis you for being a humbug if that's your thing!).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 346 and Sick Day (formerly Snowballs)

I knew I wouldn't be able to get through the entire year without a scarf made of this particular novelty yarn. It's most commonly called PomPom yarn (Pictured here is Bernat's version of it) and it consists of a woven cord with little fluff balls evenly spaced along the length. I have to admit it was very easy to knit but very difficult to work with in other ways. The only cast on method I could use was the backwards loop and the cast of was amazingly tight and both were because of the even spacing of the poms. Also cutting the cord caused it to unravel terribly dropping each of its pompoms along the way. On the other hand, stockinette stitch didn't curl in the slightest because of the way the poms spread each individual stitch way out. Also it certainly was incredibly soft once made into fabric and it's a look you can't really get any other way.

All in all, it's fine for a decorative scarf, but the loose stitching won't be keeping you warm at all without a lining. Oh well. All in the spirit of the season, no?

In truth, I had made this one a while ago with the intention of using it for the upcoming holiday so I'd be able to spend it stress free with my family. I've renamed it Sick Day for my Kevin who is spending the night in the hospital. I'm very lucky to have had a scarf ready made that I can move up in the line up, but more importantly I'm very grateful to know that he's being taken care of. If you have any healing to spare, send it along. Thanks :(

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 345 and Fair Isle

It might not be the most accurate title for this scarf. I'm no expert on color work, but from what I understand, fair isle has very specific rules. I don't think my cowl here quite fits. It might be a little bit like bandaids. The proper term is adhesive strip, but if you say bandaid, everyone knows what you're talking about. Need charts of inspiration? I recommend Alice Starmore's Charts for Color Knitting.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 344 and Mint Chip

I thought I'd expand on the woven effect a little bit. In this collar I used an icord instead of scrap yarn and zigged it back and forth with each row. I used an interesting frog with a long loop so I could hook it onto itself instead of having another frog piece on the other side. Maybe it's just me, but I think loops are much easier than buttons. I'm sure it's just a personal thing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 343 and Lazy

Did I fool you? I've done a woven scarf with scraps before, but no! This is not woven! I crocheted the whole thing. I could have crocheted a mesh and then woven each of the strands through, but I didn't think I had it in me today. I've done tapestry crochet before and if you aren't careful the yarn that is supposed to be hidden inside the stitch can show through. I decided I'd use the folly to my advantage. I thought I'd be lazy and cheat my way to a woven look and I'm not ashamed ;)

Scraps of heavily textured yarn for "weaving"
Size M hook
TLC Amore held double (Main color)(any worsted or light worsted will do)
Tapestry needle

Cut as many scraps as you plan on using head of time about 5.5 feet for each length. The number of strands you should use for each row can be any number you like, but I used enough strands that when held together, they approximated the width of the chain created with the main color yarn.

Throughout the pattern, for every single crochet stitch including the very first and very last of every row, catch the scrap yarns inside the stitch as follows: Insert hook, pull up a loop, position scraps against the main fabric (or chain on the bass row), reach OVER the scraps to catch your loop and finish the stitch. Once again, this method of catching the scraps happens on each and every single crochet stitch throughout the pattern.

Chain 101 using main color.
Base row: SC into second chain from hook. *Chain 2, skip 2 chain, SC into next chain* repeat to last chain, Sc in last chain.
All following rows: Chain 1, Turn. SC into first stitch *Chain 2, skip chain space, SC into next SC* repeat to last stitch, SC in final stitch.

Repeat the second row until the scarf is as wide as you'd like. I had less than half a skein of amore and still was able to make a 6 inch wide scarf. If you'd like a longer scarf, increase the beginning chain with any multiple of 3.

Cut your scraps ends evenly or artistically as you please. Cut the main color and sew in the loose ends of the main color.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 342 and Mimsy Porpington

Why the weird name!!?? I was inspired by the gigantic victorian neck ruffles. Because this is a very light color it's a little tricky to see the ruffles, but they are in fact vertical and do not lie flat against the rest of the otherwise simple collar. I remembered John Cleese wore something similar as a ghost in the Harry Potter movies and thus the namesake.

Basically, I made a very simple double crochet cowl with no shaping. When I had the width I wanted, I cut my end and wove them in. Then I started a new bit of crochet. This time I made three double crochets around the post of a stitch near the center as well as the one next to it. I chained 1 stitch, rotated the cowl, and worked around the post of another set of stitches. I kept mine lined up for this scarf, to make nice symmetrical ruffles.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 341 and Scatterbrain

SO I thought yesterday's scarf was fun to make and I figured I do another one with a twist. This time I pulled all the strands out as a loop and I deliberately used variegated yarns. The result is a massive hodge podge of colors. It's bright, it's wacky, and I love it!!

When doing the loop technique though, I need to mention that it's important to do one final row of basic single crochet. Otherwise the loops on that last edge can get all stretched out and strange looking the way a ladder in otherwise even knitting looks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 340 and Big Bird

Here's a weird technique. If you've ever made loopy fabric by using your thumb to hold some extra yarn out while you make your stitch, then you can do this. It's all made with single crochet, but with three strands of yarn held together. When making the loops ONLY hold out one yarn. In this case, I used the yellow fluffy yarn every single time, but for an interesting effect, you could pull out a different yarn for each stitch.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 339 and Comic

Shameless plug alert! My fiance Kevin has been writing a webcomic (idget) semi regularly since... shoot, I don't even know! It's got to be about 10 years running now.

I turn to him today and I say, "Kevin! Give me an idea for a scarf! I'm feeling a little uninspired."
He says, "Do a scarf about a comic strip." I sense he's being facetious until *bing! lightbulb!*
I reply, "Perfect!"

It's really just another clever way to use an applique, but even more, it's a way to tell others what you're thinking. I have a rather large collection of buttons (badges). I used to display them on the upholstered ceiling of my car. Unfortunately my new car has a hard fiberglass top and I can't transfer the buttons there. This scarf gives me a new opportunity to show off the collection. If you don't have a huge set of brooches, badges, or high school kids in sports and band uniforms,* I suggest sewing in 3 black buttons in a row. Better to remain silent with a set of ellipsis, then to have a blank speech bubble and be thought a fool.

What? Is that not the phrase?

2 skeins Loops and Threads Charisma (held double throughout) I used offwhite.
Size 19 needles
10 yards worsted yarn (I used black)
size 7 or 8 dpns (A cranking icord maker or knitting nancy will work just fine too if you prefer)
Tapestry needle

Cast on 14 with large needles.
Rows 1, 2: [k1, p1] across
Rows 3, 4: [p1, k1] across
Repeat these rows until you're clean out of yarn. Bind off.

Cast on 4 with Dpns. Work i-cord until you're clean out of yarn.

Arrange the cording on the scarf in the shape of a speech bubble and sew into place. Use the black yarn to attach the cord as the white is far too large. If you catch only the purl ridges on the scarf body as you sew, the backside will have no trace of your stitches and appear clean and neat.
Pin some badges or sew some buttons and tell everyone what you have to say!

*Did anyone else's school do this? My high school had a photo roster which was turned into campaign style badges for parents to wear. Pass along the idea if your local house of learning hasn't already adopted the practice.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 338 and Bear Hug

I don't think I've done nearly enough cute childlike scarves this year. I thought the yarn combination here of one fuzzy mohair and one smooth yarn made a nice furry, but not overwheling texture. It looked like a big fuzzy animal. A couple claws at each end and that fuzzy animal has his paws around you!

Awwww, so cute!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 337 and Ninja

Here's a simple equation: Hat + Cowl = Ski mask.

I've had this on my wish list for a while now! Here's the set up.
If you know the recipe for a short row hat knitted sideways, you can make it into a ski mask very easily. All you have to do is cast on many many more stitches until it's long enough to cover the face. On the crown edge, work the decrease wedges as you normally would and on the long edge, just knit straight.

When it comes time to put the face in, all you have to do is work the hat as if it were only a hat leaving all the other stitches on the needle. Then cut the yarn and attach it to the face area leaving a few stitches gap for the eyes. Knit straight until it's the same width as the hat portion and sew the seam.

I need to deconstruct this project again and post a better pattern. In all honesty, I made this one up as I went along (and that's very much like me). Among my goals for the new year is learning to make a PDF so I can post better patterns to ravelry. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 336 and Ravenclaw

If you're a hardcore fan of anything at all, you know that other fans can be rabid, insane, frightening, but above all of those other thing, they are opinionated!

Watchers of the Harry Potter movies might make a fuss that I've chosen the wrong colors for this so called Ravenclaw scarf, but readers of the books will nod in appreciation. Storytelling (and in this case scarf making) is constantly evolving even when the story is something as concrete as a book or a movie. Despite the art already having been made, there will always be someone out there interpreting it as he or she sees fit. How many years will go by before there is a remake of the series or a tv show that does a little retcon? It could happen.

As it stands, I went with book canon blue and bronze. I'm not saying it's better, just that it's my choice and just like my opinion, I'm grateful to have it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 335 and Hufflepuff

I am nothing if not a completionist. I've made 2 Gryffindors and a Slytherin. I'll be darned if I don't complete the set!!

I used a nice fat yarn and it's outrageously soft. I'm totally a fan of Micheal's house brand "Loops and Threads" If you have a Micheals craft center near you, give the brand a try. It's much softer, much less pilling, and just as machine washable as you'd imagine.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 334 and Test Strip

I've done plenty of scarves using scraps, but most of them are just a jumble so no one yarn sticks out. I've also made scarves using a single stripe of a yarn which is certainly interesting, but you can't tell what the yarn is like by itself when done this way.

This time around, I thought I'd really give each yarn a chance. It's still a scrap scarf, but by separating each texture with something smooth and nondescript, you get a better feel for each type so that you might be interested in using it for something more substantial.

If you're really lucky, you might live near a yarn shop that lets you sample yarns! If that's the case, this is an ideal scarf to make. Use a size P hook and either buy the contrast yarn or bring it along. Something like this takes only an hour or so (and I for one can easily spend much more time than that in a yarn shop!).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 333 and The Winding Road

I'm really trying to get more cabling into my life. It's interesting, it's slightly challenging, and it always always always yields impressive results.

Here I did nothing more than a plain cowl. Garter stitch is used 3 stitches wide on both edges and in the center, a 2 stitch cable. All I did was move the cable over one stitch for every right side row. When I got too close to one border, I started moving it in the other direction. With an even wider center section, some interesting asymmetrical direction changes could be very exciting!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 332 and Pringles

Why pringles? Pringles are probably my third favorite brand of fried crispy chip thing after Doritos and Clancy's Sweet potato chips. I love the way they stack up perfectly and I love the way they curve over the tongue. I know they aren't very healthy, but darn it, when you open a bag of chips or a can of pringles you know darn well what you're getting into.

The crocheted ribbing here stacks up perfectly just like the crispy crisps and just like a crisp, I bet you can't stop at just one. Single crochet ribbing is so easy, a beginner can do it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 331 and Cro-knit

Okkay here's one that's completely new to me! I can't believe I had one of these needles in my stash! I know I never bought it... maybe my mom passed it on to me.

Anyway, the technique is called cro-knitting, cro-hooking, double-end crocheting, crocheniting, and double tunisian, but as far as I can tell, they all stand for the same thing. The technique uses a long needle with a crochet style hook at both ends and two strands of yarn. The basic stitch (seen here) is exactly the tunisian or afghan stitch. The big difference is that after picking up all the stitches onto the need, you *turn* the needle and work the return row and another pick up row in the opposite color. Check out this video by Mary Middleton to see the basic stitch in action.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 330 and Pilgrim

I'm not sure what the problem with American History is, but we Americans can never seem to get it quite right. Case in point: Today is American Thanksgiving. The rules are as follows.
1. Indians wear little headbands with three feathers sticking out the back.
2. Cornucopias all have the same veggies.
3. TURKEY... chicken is blasphemous on this day!
4. Pilgrims wear buckles.

I have put rule number 4 into play today. Pilgrims wore buckles. If you wear buckles then you are a pilgrim. This scarf makes you a pilgrim.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 329 and Flagged

Have you ever seen those little post it brand arrow stickers? Apparently they are useful for college kids, politicians, and business executives to mark important pages in their documents.

As I was knitting with my jiffy needles (that's size 50 folks!) I had neglected to make a thick fabric as my yarn was not quite as heavy as it should have been. To give some more body to the finished fabric, I took some extra yarn in a different color and wove it through the large airy stitches. I let the tassels hang and those little flag markers are what came to mind.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 328 and Cheer

This would be another terrific pep rally school spirit favorite team scarf! I increased one stitch at the beginning of each row until I had 10 stitches. I used a size M hook, but if you prefer a smaller hook, increase to as many stitches as you'd like so that the scarf is comfortably wide for you. After working straight for a while, decrease one stitch at the end of each row until you've come to a point. Leave your ends long enough to attach the pom poms.

Of all things, I used a DVD case to make the size pom poms I wanted. I wound yarn around the case about 50 times to get the thickness I wanted. Tie yarn around the center point on each side of the case and cut along both edges. Your pom poms will turn out exactly the same size and you have yarn ends at each point of the scarf ready to tie the pompoms on.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 327 and Antique

When one is working on a project, there is hardly a despair so intense as the realization that you haven't purchased enough of the same dye lot. The rage might set in in you're working with either black or white where the color difference is more obvious than in some other colors.

I went to an extreme here and deliberately choose whites that didn't match. The result is a faux antique. I'm strongly reminded of the gradually changing and very splotching colors of a very old lace table cloth such as would be passed down from earlier generations.

This is a fairly new pattern on ravelry called "Cloudburst shawl." The designer is quite new, but I found the pattern easy enough to understand.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 326 and Lofty

I love a nice fat lace that still keeps one warm. This is an easy stitch I felt like practicing. It has a strong diagonal warp though, so if you want to keep your lace lines straight, you'll have to do some heavy duty blocking.

Worked over a multiple of 3 plus 1 stitch.
Row 1: K1, *YO, K2tog* repeat **to end.
Row 2: Purl across

Couldn't be simpler, right? If you want to do this as a whole scarf, I recommend an extra 2-4 stitches on each end in 1x1 ribbing to give it structure.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 325 and Slippage

While I've made a scarf before by stitching the length of the scarf, cutting and starting over with a new thread at the original end, this marks the first time I've made a scarf using nothing but crocheted slip stitches.

When working with most weights of yarn, creating a fabric from slip stitches becomes very thick and very tedious very quickly. I used a jiffy hook and thicker yarns (though of many different weights) that were still not quite thick enough to fill the jiffy hook. As a result the fabric is curiously resembling woven fabric rather than crochet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 324 and Pride

It's not the first rainbow I've done, nor is it the first situation in which colors are used together as well as alone to create an effect. It is however the first scarf directly representational of my political and ethical stance on a certain subject.

I don't think it needs spelling out, but Kevin and I support love.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 323 and Bumblebee

This is not a big revelation, but I don't think I've covered it so, let us shall!

What you see is NOT a wide short scarf with many many stripes. Instead, it's a slender scarf that's long enough to make you think it's a short wide scarf. I love stripes very much, but I hate all the ends that you have to weave in (assuming you're not going to take advantage of the ready made fringe). Fewer stripes naturally means fewer ends to weave. This appeals to me a lot! So in order to make 4 stripes look like 12 or 16, just make the scarf long enough to wrap around your neck 4 or more times. Problem solved.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 322 and Abacus

I can make a small i cord ring, so why not use a whole bunch of them? Strung on more i cords enclosed in solid stitching, the rings can be moved around at will. It makes for an interesting way to remember a date or phone number.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 321 and Bowties

From the book Crochet Edgings and Trims, this is the very first pattern available in the book and in my opinion the most suited to be made bulky and turned into a scarf. The bowtie relief stitching is made as you go and is really a very clever construction. Let us never forget that a trim can be blown up and made to stand all on its own.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 320 and Sunflower

Ahhh, variations on a theme are what keep me going every day. Whenever I feel like I've hit a dead end, I can always look back at something I liked and think to myself, "how can I make this different?"

Instead of a closure, I went with a snug cowl. This could work with just about any applique though. The basic formula is as follows:

Size 17 needles
worsted weight yarn (3 strands held together)

I worked over 16 stitches a simple moss stitch and grafted the beginning to the end when it was just long enough to stretch over my head. Knowing that I was going to make a large sunflower, I decided to place the flower right over the seam as it was large enough to cover it completely thus making the remaining cowl appear completely seamless. I opted for color on color here, but you might prefer a nice green background for a flowery scene, or even something a little sparkly to remind you of a pretty crystal vase for the single bloom.

The sunflower design was partially lifted from 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield though I must admit, I did modify it heavily. I just can't seem to leave well enough alone!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 319 and Reversal

There are plenty of ways to make reversible fabric. It's hard to tell in the photo, but on one side, there is multi colored stripes where both yarns are held together as well as dark blue stripes where the dark blue is worked alone through the front loop. On the other side you can still see the multi stripes but the solid color is instead the teal worked through the back loop.

I love the idea that a single garment can masquerade as two.