Tag Archives: Mine mine mine

Double Dutch is live!

Yay! My “Double Dutch” hat is officially for sale, announced today on the Bella Knitting blog. Yay!

I gotta say, the pattern support for this is nuts. There’s a video walkthrough, a bunch of photos, careful explanations — the directions are so clear that when I was reading over the final product, I found myself wishing I’d had the instructions while I was inventing the dang thing. I would’ve spared myself a lot of trouble, I can tell you.

Snapped

We got some photos of the finished hat in the proper yarn just before the boyfriend had to go. We got this photo at the airport, in the last of the evening light:

doubledutch.jpg
The boyfriend wearing a Double Dutch hat that I promised he could keep after Stitches.

Still plugging away at my knitting projects — lots of work lately and not much life. I can’t wait for it to be spring. As cute as winter clothes are, I’m going nuts with the gray and the rain.

Automagic

Montague pattern previewMan, Ravelry is cool.

I had my Montague hat pattern up for months, and aside from a couple of comments (thank you, commenters!), didn’t hear anything. And then … Ravelry.

I found someone’s project notes for it on Ravelry, where someone noted that the metric needle sizes were wrong. By that point, the original Illustrator file was only on a hard drive that had been yanked out of a computer and parked in a drawer somewhere, so I was out of luck when it came to editing.

Yesterday I was feeling a little layout-antsy, and laid the pattern out all over again at work after hours. I’ve bought a lot of patterns online since I first made my pattern, so when I redid it, I addressed a bunch of the things that drive me nuts about the ones I see online.

I replaced the copy on this site with the new version, and then uploaded it to my Ravelry store. (I love that they’re letting people post patterns for free — and I can’t wait until they roll out the actual store. Built-in pattern store! How rad is that?!) Everything just plain worked. It was amazing. With any luck, people will knit it and comment on it, and I’ll be able to keep refining it.

And now the tricky part: making everyone on Ravelry want to knit it. Bwa ha ha!

Anyway, if you’re looking for it on Ravelry, it’s here: ravelry:montague

Invaded!

When I met Rico, a friend of my then-boyfriend Justin, I was knitting a pair of fingerless gloves with a band of skulls around the top of the palm for the boyfriend. Rico was very, very impressed, and requested a pair. I said “sure.”

Months later, I still hadn’t delivered, and Rico began the most intense knitting-related pressure campaign I have ever witnessed. He managed to work the topic of fingerless gloves into every conversation. He briefly discussed an upcoming trip to Europe for work and how the cool fall weather would make gloves absolutely necessary, and how the fingers of traditional gloves hamper the recording and note-taking of reporters like himself. Occasionally I’d get inquiries about the progress of the gloves, and I’d make lame excuses as to why they weren’t done, since at the time I was so busy I was barely knitting at all. Finally, I received a MySpace message mentioning that he would be in town and would like to visit Justin and me, and how boy howdy it sure would be awesome if he could collect those gloves.

In short, he badgered me into making gloves for him, set a concrete deadline and leavened the pressure with such obviously genuine enthusiasm that I just couldn’t get mad.

I’d intended to use the same pattern I’d used on Justin’s gloves, but it would’ve taken weeks to decode my elaborate original pattern. The notes on the short-rowing across the knuckles and careful shaping at the base of the thumb were scrawled in tiny letters on knitter’s graph paper around an outline of a hand, with stray numbers, row counts and scratched-out notes popping up like dandelions on a schoolyard lawn in summer. I scrapped it, dug some heathered merino out of the stash, drew out my skull chart again, printed out a copy of Knucks and went to work. I knitted until my fingertips went numb but by god I had those gloves finished and perfect a day before his arrival in town.

(One lesson I got from this was that I am capable of working amazingly well when someone applies the right balance of relentless prodding and cheerful encouragement. I’ve actually started inviting people I freelance for to harass me like this, since it keeps communication clear and keeps me on track. My medium-to-long-term goal is to learn to manage myself like this, so others don’t have to.)

I sent Rico a message that the gloves were done. He picked them up a few days later, completely delighted, and then the follow-up campaign began.

Usually, when I knit someone a gift, I hand it over and it disappears. (Literally, for the original skull gloves — they were stolen when Justin took them to Sweden.) This was different: Rico constantly kept me posted on how excited he was about the gloves and how and where he’d wear them.

He started off by wearing them all week after he got them, even though they made his hands sweat in the LA heat. Word got around about the gloves, and mutual friends would corner me to ask about them. He wore them when his friend took his picture. And made a point of crediting me every time he mentioned the gloves in person or online.

This is the kind of person to knit for.

And best of all, in an unexpected turn, he’s now mine to knit for whenever I want.

Invaded! Rico models his new Space Invaders beanie.
Invaded! Rico models his new Space Invaders beanie. Pattern: My own generic hat pattern, with some Space Invaders charts from Knitty’s BMP and one drawn by hand. Needles: US 6 and US 7, whichever I had lying around. Yarn: Knit Picks “Merino Style” in Maple Leaf and Coal.

Closing in

One reversible brioche stitch hat: finished. Check it!

perfect decreases!
Peep those perfect decreases!

The decreases turned out exactly as I’d hoped. I also like that the hat construction has a pleasing symmetry to it: the hat is 64 stitches around, there are 32 rounds before the decreases, and the decreases are worked four times per round over four stitches. It’s also reversible, meaning it has two sides. It’s nerdy, but damn I love powers of two!

The hat itself is super easy to make, once you get used to the whole brioche thing. The decreases take a bit of concentration at first, because each decrease has to be set up on the previous round to get that nice, neat spiral, but they’re not so bad. I managed to get through the whole hat without consulting my notes, so it’s pretty easy.

I took copious notes while making this, so I think there’s a real possibility that I could write a legible pattern for this.

[And here it is! Check out the pattern, “Double Dutch,” on Ravelry!]

Pitching zombie

Well, so much for my first pitch. Months ago, I came up with a way to make an old t-shirt into yarn. I wrote a pattern for something I called a Zombie Beanie, as a way to put new life back into beloved but ragged old gear. Right around that time, the Anticraft put out a call for patterns, and I submitted it.

Zombie beanie
Instead of sending in a sketch of a willowy, long-necked, sleek city girl modeling my knitted design, I sent in this.

I got an autoresponse e-mail from them … and the months went by. Finally I spotted something on their blog that said “we have officially emailed everyone who submitted for the book.” Except me. Which is fine, I guess. It was a last-second attempt and I screwed up royally on the submission guidelines and just generally fell flat in my attempt to get the thing out the door. I don’t mind, though. It proved I could get something done and create a mock-up, and it demystified the process for me.

But that also means I have a pattern on my hands, and I don’t know what to do with it. I’m thinking I could get my shit together and shop it out to Knitty and Craft magazine. The pattern itself isn’t too exotic; it’s mostly the shirt-to-yarn technique that makes it interesting. But I think it’d be fun to go through the process and get comfortable enough for it that just submitting my stuff isn’t scary anymore.

And if all that doesn’t work, there’s always here!

Finished: Dead kitty double-knit hat

Dead kitty hat
Reversible double-knit hat with my Dead Kitty design
Started December 10, 2006, finished December 23, 2006. Blogged a week later because I wanted to get decent photos of it.

Dead Kitty hat
Lili models the Dead Kitty hat next to my dead ruminant wall. As soon as she walked in the door, I made her put on a hat and get her face up next to my skulls while I snapped photos. What an awesome friend.

Pattern: Mine
Yarn: Caron “Simply Soft,” 100 percent acrylic
Needles: US #7
Dimensions: Errr … head-sized.

Pattern notes: Well, the good things first: A super fast knit — all that stockinette goes so fast, compared to my last project, a scarf in brioche stitch. It was also incredibly easy, since I cranked it out in a couple days using one of the generic hat patterns I carry around in my head, slightly modified to accommodate the double knitting. And it’s reversible!

Bad things next: Jesus, was I drunk when I put the join dead front and center? It’s all I can see when I look at the thing. And the yarn! Eee. I’m so happy to be done with this acrylic. And is there any way to make double knitting look OK on a hat? I think maybe a tighter gauge would suit it better, so the design doesn’t get lost when the hat is stretched over the wearer’s head. Also, all that stockinette (All stockinette! It’s all you can see, inside and out!) is not so forgiving of the occasional odd-sized stitch — they stand out like crazy. Should get better once it’s washed, though.

Would I knit it again? I have to. My model, Lili, wants a hat to match the Dead Kitty scarf I’ve promised her.

Dead kitty hatYay for skulls!

Finished: Alpaca scarf

Brioche-stitch alpaca scarf
Category: Knitting
Started Dec. 2, 2006. Finished Dec. 16.

Alpaca scarf

Pattern: Mine.
Yarn: Classic Elite Inca Alpaca in black and Inca Print in the “Zen Garden” colorway, one skein each.
Needles: US #5/3.75mm.
Dimensions: 3.5 inches wide, several feet long. (No, I’m not gonna break out the tape measure. It’s a stretchy stitch pattern, so the scarf is anywhere from five to six feet long, depending how hard you’re pulling on it.)

Pattern notes: Oh, man. Brioche stitch is a perfect match for alpaca: it knits up into an incredibly plush, springy, thick, lofty fabric that’s a treat to handle. The whole time I was knitting the scarf, I would hand people a few inches of it and tell them to squish it in their hands. It felt that good.

It got a little monotonous — that’s knitting scarves for ya — but after about a foot or so of knitting across each row twice, once with each color, and getting annoyed and bored with the extra work, I devised a way to knit brioche stitch two-handed, using both colors at the same time. It cut the knitting time dramatically and made me feel like a total genius. I’m going to put up a quick tutorial on this site about it in the next week, since I’ve been getting so many search engine hits about two-color brioche stitch. I also think the two-handed technique would adapt well to knitting two-color brioche stitch in the round, which would be useful: I want to see what the stitch looks like worked up in cotton, and I’ve owed an ex of mine a knitted hat for, um, two years? Yeah, two years. I think it’s time to make good on that.

Would I knit it again? Yup. Brioche stitch is interesting to knit and the yarn feels so completely dreamy that even I got through this one with minimal Knitter’s ADD. The other two-color brioche stitch scarf patterns I’ve seen online don’t have very neat edges, and I’m very picky about things like that. After engineering an edge stitch I liked, I feel compelled to share. If I can make the two-handed technique work in the round, I’ll make a pattern available for a hat/scarf set.