Tag Archives: knitting

JP’s Hobby Horse!

The hobby horse for my nephew is essentially done! And by essentially, I mean that I still need to finish stuffing it, weave in two ends, re-sew up the ears, and find a cane/dowel/broom handle to use as the ‘body’ of the horse. But that’s not really so VERY much left, is it? Right.

I do not have all that much experience knitting fair isle, so this was a really fun opportunity to experiment with color and tension while carrying yarn around back. My approach was to twist the two colors I was using around each other after every two stitches, to keep things nice and even. This worked out well, and now the ‘horse’ feels very thick because there is a double layer of yarn, so to speak. The pattern called for eyes to be sewn on using duplicate stitch, but I thought that buttons would be more fun and really pop.

I also changed the colors a bit. The pattern uses a full rainbow of colors, with an oatmeal/tan color as a neutral. While my nephew is turning two next month and might not mind a rainbow-colored toy now, I worried that in a few years he might feel like he shouldn’t have toys with rainbows on them, or be made fun of for playing with one. I struggled with this decision, because these kinds of stupid social pressures that we put on children (or really people in general) bother me a great deal, and part of me said, “I should teach him that it’s ok to be a boy and play with a toy that is rainbow-colored.” Ultimately, however, I concluded that he is two years old, this is a gift for him and not a political/social statement, and it is more important to make something that I think he will like than to ‘teach him a lesson’ with it. So I compromised and switched out purple for chocolate brown. The effect is to make the horse look more colorful than rainbow-y (I think, anyway. I don’t know, you guys let me know if I’m just being crazy here.)

Brandon thinks I should make the mane a little bit fuller than the pattern called for, as right now it looks a little like the horse is balding, or maybe like he has a mohawk. I’m still debating whether to add more or not, so if you have an opinion on the matter, please leave it in comments!

After working on my lace shawl for so long, this project felt like it knitted up in seconds, and my size 10 needles felt ginormous in my hands. I loved everything about this pattern – it was complex enough to be interesting and fun, but simple enough to not be frustrating. It is a very adaptable pattern, with a lot of room for experimentation with color or form. I considered doing something else for the ears besides knitting them on, for instance – maybe a piece of soft leather sewn on? – and there are plenty of other places for extra little touches to be added, such as the button eyes. The sky is the limit with this pattern!

I used Lamb’s Pride worsted weight yarn, 85% wool/15%mohair from Brown Sheep Company. One skein of each color was way more than enough, and I am now using the leftovers for a few fun little projects that I will be blogging about at a later time. The one thing about using this yarn that was a little annoying was that it is variable in its thickness, so at some parts of the horse there are little gaps where the yarn is thin. Other than that, I absolutely loved working with it, and I am planning to buy more for other projects in the future. If you are interested in buying some, there is a link to the company’s website here.

The pattern I used was in the Fall 2012 issue of Interweave Knits, my favorite knitting magazine, as discussed in a previous post. A link to pictures of all of this issue’s projects – and to subscribe to the magazine if you would like – can be found here. Finally, here is a picture of the magazine’s original hobby horse, which can be compared to my own take on it.

So, what do you guys think?

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Filed under Crafting, goals, knitting, projects, Uncategorized, Unfinished Projects

The Shawl – Photos!!

Well, the shawl is done, and here are the photos! I am planning to enter it into the Champlain Valley Fair – please let me know what you think!

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all of the laundry I’ve been neglecting…blocking is more fun! ImageImageImage

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Knitter’s Remorse

There is an oft-discussed phenomenon when someone is buying a house known as buyer’s remorse, which is when a person buys a house, gets super excited, and then, upon moving in, discovers a million things he/she does not like about it. The upstairs bathroom sink is drippy, there’s mold in the attic, you can clearly hear the neighbors doing things you’d really rather not have to think about….etc. Whatever the reasons, all of a sudden you are thinking that maybe buying this house wasn’t such a great idea after all.

I contend that there is a similar phenomenon experienced by knitters, and I’m going to tell you about mine. I just finished a shawl that I have been working on for three years now. And by ‘working on for three years’, I mean, of course, ‘working on for five months, losing for two years, then working on for two months.’ Obviously. So a few nights ago, there I was at 1am on a work night, racing the clock to get this thing off the needles so I could go to bed. Finally – FINALLY – I knit the last, wonderful, beautiful stitch (pictured below), and I fell into bed, utterly content and pleased with myself. The shawl was wonderful. Perfect, even. I needed to weave in the ends and block it, and then it would be the nicest shawl you’ve ever seen. Until last night.

Last night, Brandon got home from his bi-weekly commute to Massachusetts at around 11:00pm, and was ready to drop from sleepiness. Before we turned in, I asked him excitedly, “do you want to see the shawl?!” to which he very kindly replied, “of course I do!” So I got out the little plastic shopping bag I had it in (what else?) and held it up for him to see. It was the first time I had held it up and looked at it since finishing it, and then I had been delirious with tiredness. The second I let it hang from my arms, I knew something was wrong.

“Wow!” Brandon said. “Babe, that looks amazing!”

“No, it doesn’t.” I said. He looked confused.

“What are you talking about? It’s awesome!”

“No, it isn’t.” I folded it up and put it back in the bag.

“Wha…?” Brandon’s confusion was not difficult to miss. I flopped onto the bed next to him.

“I used the wrong yarn!” I wailed. Brandon’s eyes bugged out in sudden fear. “I used ALPACA. I knew I should have used mohair like the pattern suggested, but I was too cheap and I used ALPACA, and now it’s not going to keep its shape! Didn’t you see how it stretched down from my hands where I held it up, instead of staying firm?” At this, Brandon utilized the only sensible course of action left to him. He rolled up a magazine and whacked me on the hip.

I’m mortified by my mistake and afraid the shawl is going to hang terribly after it’s blocked. My only hope is that the hot iron will shock it into staying stiff, but I know it’s useless. I’ve decided I’m going to enter it into the Champlain Valley Fair – the big country fair of the Burlington area – but I know with that one mistake I haven’t got a hope of winning a ribbon. Next time, I will choose quality over my wallet!

I am hoping to have pics up by tomorrow or Friday – I’m a little behind on homework, so thank you for your patience!

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Ladies and Gentlemen…

Ladies and Gentlemen….at 1:06 this morning…..the shawl is completed.

I am in a sleep- and food-deprived daze…I have been knitting for 12 hours straight today, my homework is not submitted, and I have to be up at 6:00am (that’s five hours from now, for those of my readership who were not blessed with stellar math skills.) But the shawl is made. I can hold it and wrap it around myself and it is warming me up right now, and I don’t really feel capable of forming a coherent sentence right now I am so excited and confused. It’s taken almost three years to complete, six months of work, tens of thousands of stitches, hundreds of hours, but this piece is finally done, and I cannot wait to show it to you.

Even though the knitting is done, I still need to weave in ends, wash it, and block it, so I have made the decision to not share pictures until it is in its final, completed, beautiful form. The one thing I will share right now is this:

The Last Stitch

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Filed under Crafting, goals, Jane Sowerby, knitting, lace, Life, Lost shawl, portfolio, projects, shawl, The Cap Shawl, Uncategorized, Victorian Lace Today

My Nephew’s Birthday Present

Today was a great day! Why? Because I went to work for 8 hours and then followed it up with an hour of filling out tedious paperwork! Just kidding, it’s because my fall issue of Interweave Knits arrived in the mail, and with it, an idea for my nephew’s birthday present! My nephew is turning 2 in September, and picking out his present is a big freaking deal. Not only is he the most adorable, clever, fun, and sweet nephew ever (other than my other nephew, Riley), but he lives three and a half hours away, putting me pretty close to the top of the list of World’s Most Terrible Aunts. I don’t get to see him that often, and when I do, I feel like we just start to form a bond and then I have to leave again. It breaks my heart every time. Which is why picking out the perfect birthday present is so important! And I am hoping I found it.

First of all, let me just say that a subscription to a good magazine is one of the best gifts I can think of (though this is NOT the gift I’m getting for my nephew), which is why I am so happy that I was given a subscription to Interweave Knits for Christmas. In my opinion, they produce some of the best content, and some of the best, cutest, and – most importantly – most wearable* clothes of any knitting magazine I’ve seen.  Add to that their great online presence with excellent free content and videos, along with their attention to other crafts in addition to knitting, and I think they offer the best bang for your buck. Plus, there is the major point that I consistently like their patterns more than most other magazines, which tend to be hit or miss for me.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t overly fond of many of this issue’s patterns because they just didn’t happen to be my style, but the ones I liked I fell in love with. And one of these, is going to be my nephew’s birthday present. What is this magical item, you ask? It’s a hobby horse, and it’s freaking awesome.

For those of you who do not know what a hobby horse is, the ones you buy in the store look something like this:

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You can purchase this one at http://www.sunny-bears.com/inv/gund/hobby-horse.php

And the ones you make at home look something like this:

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This one can be found at http://www.ms-notsoperfect.com/2011/04/bugz-horsefly-costume.html

Mine was named Trigger; he was made by my mother and was loved to death. We still have him, but I think he’s missing a few facial features at this point. The point of this toy is that a small child with a humongous imagination will straddle this stick, hold it with one hand and the ‘reins’ with the other, and gallop around on his or her ‘horse’, having all kinds of dangerous and wonderful adventures. I loved this toy, and I am hoping my nephew will as well. It is coming at a good time, I think, considering his new fascination with ‘skipping’, which tends to look more like a gallop anyway.

I will post a pic as soon as I can, but for now suffice it to say that this one is very colorful, with a fair isle motif in big blocks of color all over it, and a funky blue mane sticking out the back!

*By this I mean that many knitwear designers either go too simple with their clothes, so they’re boring to knit and to wear, or too complex so the clothes just look silly and no one except a super model or movie star would actually wear them out in public (I’m looking at you, Vogue Knitting.) Interweave Knits strikes a good balance by featuring beautiful clothing that is complex and interesting, but has classic lines and styles that anyone would feel chic and comfortable wearing. This, I think, is the mark of truly good design.

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July 27, 2012 · 1:52 am