Sunday, September 30, 2012

FO: Llama hat

I broke my rule about posting every two weeks again. In my defence, we are getting work done on the house, and had to move everything from the front to the back, and have been without internet for a week. (Our first night sleeping in the back of the house someone broke in. I got out of bed and meandered into the room he was in because I thought the noise might be my brother in need of a torch. It's sort of funny, because the last time someone broke in, I also encountered them, so while twice in six years isn't highly frequent, it's two for two. And by "funny", I mean "Stop breaking into my house." My other useful skills in the whole house-moving endeavour include "Not being afraid of spiders" and "Owning a torch." They make up for my inability to reach high shelves, or lift very heavy things.)

A friend I used to work with requested a hat for the harsh Winter months. When I asked him if he had anything in mind, he said he used to have a llama hat that he loved and lost. I searched Ravelry and showed him this pattern, and he said that it was perfect, but then said to disregard that part and just take whatever creative license I could come up with myself.


I made a few modifications to the pattern. I didn't include the earflaps, because the recipient didn't want them. I knit the brim in five rows of p1k1 rib, to avoid stockinette curl. I knit the orange bands above and below the llama pattern with an extra row, because I thought the hat was going to turn out short. I was wrong, but wasn't going to rip out all that fair-isle to correct that mistake, so I went with it. (Pro-tip: Don't space out while knitting fair-isle in the round, or ever. It will not end well.) I also left out the 'Pattern No.1' from the pattern, as the crown decrease began five rows before the end and I didn't want it to be point, so I started it ten rows from the end, decreasing eight stitches per row, and left a plain knit row between each.

I knit this with Rico Design Essentials Soft Merino Aran. I generally much prefer bulky yarn for hats, because I'm suspicious of aran yarn's ability to be properly warm, but this does the job very well. This opens up worlds of yarn-related possibilities!


I sold at my second craft fair yesterday, and it went very well! (I got the first sale of the day, not that it's a competition or anything.) Two of my friends dropped by with their four-year-old, and he had great fun trying things on and admiring himself in the mirror I had the presence of mind to bring. Far and away the most adorable of customers. I misidentified his face-paint as Spiderman, when in fact it was Rocket Boy from Eddie Rocket's (it was mostly blue with only a little red and no black, so that counts against me, but I was thrown by his Spiderman hoodie). I'm pretty sure this means that I'm old and no longer with it. On the plus side, embracing being an old woman means it is socially acceptable for me to force-feed people.

Friday, September 14, 2012

FO Friday: bobble hats!

I've finished three of my October birthday presents, but the need for another yarn-shopping trip meant I had time to get some other work done. It has been a long time since of my yarn stash could fit into the box under my bed (I almost always buy yarn just for specific projects! I don't know how it happens!), and since my family are getting work done in the house and space is becoming a rare commodity, I've been getting a move on on emptying out my bag-o-yarn.

I bought quite a few balls of Cygnet Seriously Chunky at the start of the Summer in the Woollen Mills closing down sale. (They said they would be open in a smaller premises within a few weeks and I can't find word on any such thing online. Sad times.)  The size of them made them an obvious target for getting out of the bag first.

I made bobble hats with cartoonishly large bobbles! They are different sizes as I was working out the best size as I went along.

They can be worn slouchy or with the brim rolled up for a snugger fit.  (Sorry for the dead-eye stare. I'm sharing my sister's room at the moment, and if she came in while I was taking self-photos she would make fun, and it would be perfectly fair.)

I like how the hats turned out, and while I'm not one for bright colours, they're more autumnal than I realised while shopping on a sunny day. I think Cygnet yarns are a very handy staple. They seem like nothing to write home about - they're nothing special to touch, though they're certainly not uncomfortable or abrasive. That said, they have a pretty good range of weights and colours, and are inexpensive enough that they can be used for toys without it feeling like a waste and clothes without spending a great deal. (Acrylic is also useful if you're knitting for people with wool allergies.) Except Hickeys don't stock them. WOOLLEN MILLS WHERE ARE YOU? :(

Moving down the weight scale (my god, the feeling of using anything lighter than chunky yarn after several nights of knitting with chunky yarn) I made a child-sized version of my cupcake hat to use up the yarn I had left over from it.  It wasn't going to be child-sized until I realised how little pink I had left. At the moment I'm using the Louisa Harding Millais I bought on sale (... okay, this might be why I have so much of all the yarn) before Christmas to knit another owl hat. I have a feeling I wrote down the pattern for that hat, but my pattern notebook is trapped on the wrong side of some boxes, so I'm improvising.

I'm hoping to sell at a few craft fairs over the coming months, and I've booked a place at the New Art Market in two weeks. So moving things from the bag-o-yarn to the 'To Sell' bag mightn't seem constructive yet, but eventually at least one will be empty and then everything will fit under my bed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Recent FOs: gloves, a bobble hat, and a helmet

I finally used the last of my Willow Tweed. These will be going to a craft fair next month, unless I think of someone who would like a pair as a gift. "I'll make these just in case" isn't really how I operate with hand-made presents, though.

I used two of the same stitch patterns as for the green yarn, but I think the yarn brings them out very well.

I've finished two of my October birthday presents, but one of the recipients-to-be reads this! This hat is for my little brother. It's made from a whole skein of Noro Korogashi - the ends went into making the bobble. Making bobbles is a bit more fiddly than I remember from when I was eight, but them's the breaks. The pattern used is Bobble-Head Ray (Ravelry page only). I don't think it can quite be said to be one-size-fits-all, as it's a bit loose on me - I'm planning on making one for myself, and knocking off at least one 8st repeat. My brother is a sight taller and broader than I am, so the size shouldn't be a problem. I'm happy with how it turned out, and it feels lovely to wear!

This wee centurion hat was a commission, based on this. I'm not enamoured with either crochet or paying for things, so I improvised a knitted version. I intended to write down the pattern, but that didn't pan out.  The hat is knit with Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky on 6mm DPNs, and the credt was crocheted using fluffy yarn that's been leftover from a scarf for years. I used ~DK yarn held double, and I think it gives it a bit of stiffness that works better than a row of tassels would have.

It's to be a gift for a friend's six-month-old nephew, but I don't know what size babies' heads are, and couldn't find any patterns for six-months-olds so I could extrapolate. Hopefully it's larger than this teddy bear's anyway. On a related note, it seems like people almost always describe babies as being a good size, or big for their age. If all babies of an age are big for that age, it's possible that that's just the size that babies are at that age.

Tow more October birthday presents to go, and then I can move on to Christmas knitting! No staying up until three in the morning every night of the week before Christmas for me this year, no sir.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Electric Picnic crafts!

I went to Electric Picnic this weekend. It was my third year attending, and my first year paying - last year I volunteered as a steward, and the year before I came with work (and technically qualified as a performer and got a performer's wristband, no big deal). Part of my motivation for paying this year was that I'm more interest in the crafts and performances than the music, and most of that goes on during the day. I might revert to not paying next year, but it was lovely to have a year to wander around the Green Crafts Village at my leisure and not be in a rush to pick a workshop that would finish in time for my shift.

The Green Crafts Village also makes me want to run away and live in a tree in a hippie commune where everyone teaches everyone else new skills all day. Hopefully some of those skills are farming and cooking, so we don't all die.

On Saturday I made this ring at a workshop run by Forgotten Silver.  I've never worked with metal before, and never had occasion or opportunity to solder, so I really enjoyed it. I've smithed something!

I carved this 'wood spirit' from lime wood at the Irish Woodcarving stall. I started with a triangle of wood with two divots taken out of it for the eyes and the area just beneath the nose, and the carver marked the lines I should carve with pencil as a guideline. I think he looks a little bit like the Deku Tree.

The wood was a lot lighter before varnishing. (I also got a henna doodle, but it didn't stain very strongly!)

In Mindfield I encountered the portable version of Winnie's Craft Cafe. I'd never heard of it before, so I'll have to make an expedition of cycling out there while the nice weather holds. I had intended to pop in last thing on Sunday to pick up a small project's worth of yarn (and then it could be my EP hat/pair of gloves/etc.), but they were packing up when I arrived. In fairness, it's usually a safe bet that no-one is looking to buy yarn at half eight on the last night of a festival. Usually.

They also had giant needles! More giant than the child with the wand in the corner of the lower photograph. I bet her that the needle was taller than her, and we measured her against one of them, and then we had to measure the second to be sure. Kid has the heart of a scientist.

The yarn I'm using in that photo is fabric selvedge, and I completed a row. No big deal.

If I could find an event in Dublin that allows craftspeople to run casual workshops, I would be very excited. As it is, I'll just get excited bout next year!

P.S. I saw The Cure. The Cure. I saw them. So.