February 26, 2013

Modified Stockinette Snake

 I studied biology in college, and totally love (almost)  all things creepy crawly- snakes, frogs, and beetles being my top three.  I even spent a year of college doing research on South African Clawed frogs, and spent a lot of my free time abroad in East Africa looking up insects that I found around camp.  My mom would tell you I've been like this pretty much forever.  I remember once thinking I was ingenious in using a bubble tape gum container to hold my ants so I could bring them inside to play with them and not soon after was shocked to find it empty. Sorry mom!

Joe and I are even the proud owners of not one, but two snakes.  I have a very scared and wimpy ball python named Bruce, whose an absolutely gorgeous pastel morph for those of you who know what that means.  Joe's is a larger iridescent Imperator Boa.  If anything Joe is even more into herpetology than I am, so I am lucky to have found someone equally weird.

So now you can understand how totally thrilled I was when I found this amazing pattern for a knit snake on purl bee! (Which, as a side-note I am really hook-on right now, so there will be more modifications coming your way).

The recipe calls for making it striped with two kinds of yarn, but because I'm impatient as all get out and because I had a yarn that had some built-in stripes I modified it for just one color.  I used an old skein of Caron Simply Soft Shadows that I had around, but I'm not sure they make it anymore. As for the needles I used, they're from my grandmother's collection, and I don't have the faintest clue what size they are.  You could use DPN's instead easily.

Here's the best part of this project:  it's knitted flat!  And you don't have to do any seams or merging or stuffing or anything.  It uses the basic stockinette stitch (knit one side, purl the other) and just naturally curls into itself to make itself round!  It's amazing and SUPER easy.  If you're someone whose only ever done scarves and knitting and purling you could do this!

February 23, 2013

Toddler Moccasins

Let me start this with the caveat that this is my first time writing out own pattern.  I do a lot of altering other people's patterns and making things up without worrying about writing it down, so this is totally new for me!  So if you have any constructive criticism or advice on making this easier to follow I would love hear it.

Supplies Used:

3.5 mm hook

Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn
    in Chocolate and Aran
    (or any other thick, worsted yarn)

ch: chain
sc: single crochet
hdc: half double crochet
inc: increase stiches by 1
dec: decrease stitches by 1
sl: slip stitch

February 21, 2013

One Billion Rising

A week ago today I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in One Billion Rising in Chicago.  It was honestly one of the most moving days of life.  It was so incredible to come together with hundreds of strangers who were all so full of love and support for survivors of violence and to prevent that fate from happening to others.

If you haven't heard about it, One Billion Rising is a movement to stop violence against women.  One third of all women are beaten or raped in their lifetime.  That means across the world there are an estimated one billion female survivors of violence.  To combat this atrocity women world-wide joined together to stand and dance together for a better future.

If you want to see videos of the event across the globe you can click here.  There are live feeds and clips of the dance from Australia, Brazil, India and 200 other nations.  It is truly unbelievable.  This is the one I was fortunate enough to attend at Daley Plaza.

photo by Elizabeth Harper 

 photo by Courtney Ego

February 18, 2013

A very pit bull sweater

As if I haven't posted enough about my little dog, I knit him this amazing sweater recently and I am finally getting around to posting about it.  I searched around revelry and the internet for ages, as most sweaters are for little bitty dogs, and not a beast like mine. So I made some modifications to a sweater pattern for Basenji found on ravelry or the author's original blog post.

Mine fits my dog more snugly as he would shake anything off, and I wanted it to fit under his coat for those super cold Chicago nights. I also added four cables to the back to spice it up a little.  I also eliminated the sleeves.  But use the other ink to compare, or use hers if you prefer it!

Also, because it's very easy to make fun of animals in clothes, let me just say I am not usually a supporter.  But our pit bull has very thin fur and will shiver and get difficult after less than two blocks on really cold days.  This pattern is great in that it covers his belly and neck.  It does the double duty of keeping him warmer and making it harder for him to shake it off.  And he really doesn't mind wearing it!  If you're wondering how to get it on- I put his legs in first then swoop it over his head. Fortunately he's smart enough to catch of that he'd rather deal with it than be cold.

I used what are probably 16" size 8 circular knitting needles, and what I think was Impeccable yarn?  It's a thicker worsted so it actually came out to be a pretty dense little knit.

February 17, 2013

Crochet Edged Fleece Blanket

This project is a super simple project that ends up looking fantastic.  All it requires is some crochet thread, some fleece, and a small sized crochet hook.

 I was inspired by a purlbee pattern for flannel receiving blankets.  purlbee manages to constantly be posting modern patterns based on traditional techniques that I find incredibly endearing.  This one is crochet edged flannel baby blankets.  I don't have a baby, but I do have a very drafty apartment.  I have some knit afghans but was hoping to make something a little warmer and fuzzier.  So after a little bit of internet research I found out that it is very doable to make this with fleece instead.  I picked out a cute midwestern patten for Oy and a basic heather grey for Joe and I.  I used Aunt Lydia's Fashion 3 Crochet Thread (but a thin yarn also works fine) with a 1.90 mm/ size 5 hook.

Fabric Prep: 

This part depends on the supplies you have, how much time you want to invest, and how particular you are.  The first step is to cut the edges to straighten them out and take off that weird not-fuzzy edge.  I also cut my corners to be rounded out of personal preference.

If you're very neat, you could fold the edges under twice, sew them there, and use what I believe is called a rotary punch or a hole puncher of some sort to cut holes about 1/2 an inch apart.

If you're not that fussy, so you can follow that I did, or pick and choose the parts you want to follow.  I pinned the edges as I went (folded over twice to the back of the work).

showing the back of the work, it if folded over twice and pinned

February 03, 2013

Constellation Baby Blanket

In the spirit of free hand crochet items, I thought I'd also post my very first attempt at totally making things up: a constellation baby blanket!

A friend of mine in nursing school is having a baby!  And given he frequency with which he wears space-themed shirts, I thought this would be the perfect plan.  I looked up a constellation map online, and found a portion that would be somewhat square.  I also wanted it to include my favorite constellation (Cassiopeia) and a famous one (the little dipper).  I happened to use August 2012.

Here's the final result:

And a closer look at eat of the constellations:


Freestyle Van Gogh Blanket

I love Vincent Van Gogh.  I think his art is amazing, and his personal history is intriguing.  You can only imagine how thoroughly excited I was to discover the Doctor Who episode Vincent and the Doctor.  Holy Moly. Yes, I know I'm a huge nerd for that admission.

My brother is also a lover of art.  He is by far my superior in skill, creativity, and sense of humor; he just rarely actually does it.  His ceramics and cartoons blow me out of the water and he barely even tries. So when I didn't get a birthday present done in time I knew I had to bring my A game for christmas.  I am a fast worker, but I started this months in advance and still didn't finish it quite in time for christmas.

Without further ado, here is the painting that acted as my inspiration:

I tried to pick a painting that I could simplify to a few colors and more simplistic shapes. I wanted it to be recognizable. So I ended up with this lovely painting of a wheat field with cypresses. I printed it out and broke it up into color shapes.  Basically a color-by-number kind of deal.