Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Christmas hats!

I've made Christmas hats and even managed to dispense a few of them! I'm organised but the gifts aren't taking up space in my room. It's the best of all worlds.

My dad lost his hat on the DART, so I made this as an early Christmas present. I used this pattern (Ravelry pattern page here), and I think it's lovely - simple without being plain. However, a few project notes said that it was turning out small and a bit pointy, so I made a few modifications which I found to be quite useful.

I used 5.5mm needles and bulky yarn, rather than aran. I think aran would have been a bit bare for the weather we're having. As was, I used just shy of two skeins of Mirasol Kutama, and I'm very happy with the fit and ease.
I added an extra eight rows at the start, immediately aftert he brim - seven of the ‘normal’ ribbing, and one cable row, cabling back. So from the pattern, I knit this part: 
“Work 6 (7) rows of P2 (3), k3, p2 (3), k9 Repeat from * to * to end of round. 
P2 (3), k3, p2 (3), k3, CL Repeat from * to * to end of round.” 
immediately after the brim as well as before the crown, creating three cabled crossovers altogether.
Following each of the first three decrease rows, I knit two rows working each stitch as it presented, rather than one, to stop the crown from becoming pointed.
To give a rough reference for size, as I knit it, this hat is a perfect fit on my dad (a 6’ man) and a pretty good, if slightly less snug, fit on me (a 5’6” girl).
These modifications are also available on my Ravelry project page.

This one was actually an October birthday hat rather than a Christmas hat. I really like how it turned out though! I've found most hats don't suit me since I cut my hair short, but I like how this one sits. I say "Maybe I'll make one for myself" pretty often, but I've bought yarn for this, so I'm a step further than I usually make it.

I discovered in searching for this pattern that the blog it's posted on no longer exists. PROBLEM. I think I'll remember it though. The Ravelry page is here, dála an scéil.

I knit this hat with Spud and Chloe Sweater that I found in a bargain bin. It was all one colour, so I thought it was just that one they were off-loading, but when I went back it was all of the shelves. It's a real shame, it's very soft and warm and not bulky and awkward. Don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

As we can see, I have a weirdly-shaped head, a further argument against me wearing hats.

I had already made this hat as a Christmas present for a friend when she asked if she could commission a hat, so I just posted this to her. Because two hats would be decadent.

Pattern page here, Ravelry page here. I used a bulky yarn to make it warmer, and because I'd had a hankering to try out Debbie Bliss Winter Garden. I knit the extra pattern repeat because I thought the pattern photos looked a bit short, but apparently it's a bit long on my friend.

Pre-blocking, in the picture above, it only just covered my ears, so I was worried about the fit, but apparently I just have a large head, or hold others to unrealistic body standards.

This is the fourth time I've made this hat (twice for myself, but both versions have been repurposed), so I'm getting good value for the eighty cents or so that it cost me. This is for my brother's girlfriend, whose name is also Jen! When she visits she sleeps in the room beside mine, and we never know which of us is being called, and it's mildly entertaining. I've found it to be a bit small before, so I knit it on 5.5mm needles, and I'm happier with the resulting fit. I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky, but I think I could have gone for a super-bulky yarn - it looks a bit too lacy and gappy to weather a serious Winter. Pretty, though! (Sorry for the blurriness of the last photo, but I think it shows it off reasonably well if you pretend it's in focus.)

I'm currently re-knitting the llama hat, having given the original up for lost. My brother also lost the triangle scarf I made for him, so I have to make another one when I get a chance. Need to start something new soon!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pattern: Starfleet logo chart

This is the pattern I used for my Starfleet gloves a few weeks ago (or glove, I guess, since the other one was the X-Men logo).  I used chunky yarn knit tight, because I wanted the gloves to be snug, but as long as your gauge has the right proportions it should work out.

The PDF with the pattern chart can be found here.

This is how it turned out on the gloves, but it can be plugged into hats or scarves too.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How-to: Rush-job scarecrow mask

Are you stuck for a Hallowe'en costume? Can you sew a button?* I've got you covered!  The photos are poorly-lit webcam quality, but you're running out of time, you can't afford to be fussy here.

Requires sack-like-cloth, twine, sheer black material, cheap brown and black eyeshadow or other make-up, scissors, darning needle.

1. Find some sack-cloth, or one of those reusable Bags For Life that looks sort of like sack-cloth.

Did you find one? You're doing so well!

2. Sew it to a more rounded shape that fits your head. Stitches can be long and loopy and messy - it'll just add to the effect. I think having the seam on the outside looks better, but you can turn it seam facing in if you prefer.

3.  Mark where you want the eyeholes to be, then cut eyeholes. Adjust as necessary so you can sort of see.

Really, if you do it yourself you'll probably need to adjust the size and positioning.

4.  Cut a slit for the mouth, and sew it up roughly and loosely with twine.

5.  Turn the mask inside out, and sew sheer black material over the eye-holes. (The edges of the black material will not be visible from the outside.) Again, stitches can be rough and messy.

Wrong side out...

Right side out...

Two dead soulless eyes!

Pro-tip: sheer tights are only sheer when they're being worn and stretched out. You will not be able to see though them in a dimly-lit room.

5.  Rub brown and black eyeshadow, or whatever you're using, onto the outside of the cloth. Check in advance that you have not bought sparkly eye-shadow (oops).  Rub the cloth against itself so it smudges and doesn't looks neat and symmetrical.

8.  Yay, you made a scarecrow mask! Wear with pride!


On realising I couldn't see, I did this with liquid eye-liner so that I could take off the mask without being entirely boring.

My costume! I borrowed my uncle's gardening trousers and wore an oversized men's top from Penneys. Ideally I would have had straw sticking out of the ends of the sleeves, top and mask, but it is pretty hard to find straw in Dublin.

*You know, I have no time for people over ten who can't sew a button (while possessing the physical propensity to sew a button, and having grown up in a house where buttons needed to be sewn). That's not being able to sew, that's a very basic life skill. It's like reaching adulthood without being able to make toast, having grown up in a house with a toaster.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about Metor's transphobic ad.

So Meteor's new ad for free wifi, it is pretty transphobic, amirite? I have until I run out of credit to decide whether to switch networks, but since just no longer giving them custom without an explanation wouldn't feel terribly effective, I've submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

(The Advertising Standards Authority make you fill in boxes with your details, I don't just lack the ability to write a formal letter. Here's what went in the "Your complaint" box.)

"Meteor's recent ad for free wifi shows individuals going to ridiculous lengths to obtain free wifi, such as cycling after a bus providing this service. Having established this premise, the ad goes on to show a teenage boy dancing in a bar with a woman while using his phone. The woman turns around, revealing a 'masculine' jawline and stubble. As soon as the boy learns of Meteor's free wifi, he runs from the bar.

This cheap joke is, at best, small-minded and bigoted - in a country where transgendered individuals must receive a formal diagnosis of mental illness in order to have their correct gender legally recognised, it may easily be actively harmful. Meteor have argued that the person the boy is dancing with is a male drag artist - however, the joke contained within the ad only makes sense if the audience has been 'tricked' into misidentifying the boy's dancing partner as a woman, relying on the idea that transgendered women are impostors, and not real women. 

As Meteor have failed to apologise for this ad, or even to acknowledge any wrong-doing on their part, I hope you will see fit to prohibit screening of the ad."

You can complain about the ad here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lots of scarves!

Some low-bandwidth projects, as the kids say.*

1-2. Triangle scarf in Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton. 3-4. A long neckwarmer in Katia Big Merino. 5-6. A triangle scarf (an early Christmas present for my brother) in Malabrigo Merino Worsted. 7-8. A snugger neckwarmer in  Katia Big Merino.

Woo webcam-quality photos! For such speedy, lazy projects, I didn't feel like going outside in the cold and taking dozens of awkward photos of myself. The first two of these are commissions, the latter two are Christmas presents (one if for my little brother to give to his godmother, which doesn't help me with being organised, but means I get paid back for the yarn, so!). I have finished three Christmas presents, and am currently debating whether to keep going on with them, or take a break and do some craft fair knitting for the end of the month. In any event, it looks like I won't be up until ungodly hours finishing presents this year. This is EXCITING TIMES.

*I am not sure if the kids actually say this.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

FO: Doubly nerdy gloves

I had these in mind as a birthday present for my boyfriend (October birthday #3) for a while, but couldn't settle on which logo to go with. I'm not sure if going with 'both' makes it more ridiculous, or ridiculous-neutral.

I have no great love of intarsia in the round, but I couldn't see any other way of doing this other than knitting flat and then seaming up the sides (ew) or a whole lot of duplicated stitches at the end (jesus, ew). So it was the lesser of three evils, and I think it worked out!

I used Supreme Chunky Cotton by Wendy, as my boyfriend is allergic to wool (INCONSIDERATE), and cotton is a definite step up from acrylic. The chunkiness of the yarn meant that the intarsia was quite blocky, so I went over the yellow yarn to pick out the corners and smooth them out a bit when I had finished. 


Not the neatest, but I think it's a definite improvement.

I'll probably post the charts for the logos in a few days!

In other news, I have misplaced the llama hat I made before I could give it to its person. It's none of the places it makes sense for it to be, or any of the places I've checked so far that it wouldn't make sense for it to be, so it's looking increasingly likely it fell out of my bag somewhere. Saaaaad.

Friday, October 5, 2012

FO: Button triangle cowl hates button particle cowl

October birthdays are go! The first two were yesterday. My little brother loves his bobble hat, and my friend Steph's present did not get eaten by the post and arrived only a day late, so I can post it here!

This is the One Ball of Rasta Version of the Triangle Cowl. I rarely use the recommended yarn, but the Rasta really couldn't be beat for colours and softness. (Plus I've never used Malabrigo before!) I used a skein of Archangel.

I don't know if the problem was enhanced by having lost my yarn needle with the largest eye, but this yarn was impractically thick.

I was inordinately proud of my solution!


The knitting part of this took about two or three hours all told, but the yarn being so thick, it does take a while to dry after blocking, in the order of days.  (I feel comments like this are increasingly useful with Christmas knitting approaching.) Seaming and sewing on the buttons were also a bit of hassle, as detailed above. I think it turned out well - it might be fun to make another and play with different stitch patterns.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It wasn't fair that he be trapped in the Áras.

The other day I got talking with my sister about selling at craft markets.

"I've made most useful things for everyone who's close enough to get handmade presents. This way I get to make more anyway, or make things I want to make but don't know who to give to, and I get some money from it."

"Yeah, that's a better solution than 'Hi, I'm Jenny, we're friends now, here's a hat.'
'Sorry, Mister President, we don't know how she got in. It won't happen again.' "

" 'Here's a hat, YOU'RE FREE NOW!' "

(For the non-Irish who read this, this is Michael D. Higgins, current president of Ireland. This is one of the parody posters that went around during last year's election. I think jibes about a politician's appearance - or anyone's - are the epitome of cheap shots, but Dobby's soul is so noble. Everyone loves Dobby. There's no malice there. Incidentally, the competition in that election included a man who has had people murdered. Irish politics is a strange area.)