Monday, May 28, 2012

Ondos Legwarmers

Another sample design for my "Surfista Collection" is done! The "Ondos Legwarmers". Now time to finish writing and editing the pattern and get it ready for sale. Here are the some photos from the shoot I did on the beach this week.

Ondos is Spanish for those soft wave impressions that you find in sand from the water or wind flowing over it. With these legwarmers I tried to bring the feeling of that natural motive with a lacy fabric so as to not be too hot to wear in mild weather. Perfect to wear on the beach when those sea breezes begin to pick up. A draw string worked into the band order to keep them from slipping down while you’re walking. 

The lace detailing allows it to stretch for most sizes, and warm but not be too warm. Just right for a cool breezy day on the Ecuadorian coast.

The ribbed band at the top is doubled and then knit together. This allows an i-cord to be passed through and tighten to prevent them from slipping down.

The pattern will be for sale on Ravely once this testing knitting is done. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Club de Tejido

So it turns out that I'm not the only knitter in town. I'm the only knitter that knows more than a long-tail cast-on, knit, and bind-off. Most days, as the cool season approches us here in Ecuador, I have had a project in my bag, which I pull out during my lunch hour, or when the power is out in the village. The teachers at the school where I work have noticed, and the handful that could do some basic technequies began showing up with their knitting needles and knitting near me non-chalantly. After a little while they started asking me questions about what I was doing, how I acheived the effects I was getting. These questions evolved into after work get togethers, and now we have a knitting group that I'm teaching of about 5 women depending on the day.

While teaching for free isn't usually an exciting prospect, the ladies are tons of fun, and teaching is something I enjoy. Right now I'm teaching one girl how to purl by giving her a ribbed hat to work on, two others have moved up to color stranding. And another woman is practicing different cast-on techniques.

Another interesting thing about teaching a knitting class in Ecuador is learning the knitting termonology in Spanish. Maybe for my next pattern, I'll offer a Spanish version as well!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cotton Yarn Madness

Oh my poor poor knitting blog has been so abandoned. But don't let that make you thin I've abandoned knitting. Far from it, I've been learning to adapt to knitting in a whole new way. Let me explain...

Over a year ago, I decided to move from New York to South America. Don't ask me why, it was very 'by the seat of my pants'. I've been travel blogging faithfully this whole time if you'd like to read up on that adventure. My travel blog is "Aventuras de Abril".

Knitting here has required some... adjustments. I came expecting beautiful hand spun alpaca to be coming out of my ears, and that does exist, just not where I live on the hot humid Pacific Coast. For all that loveliness you have to go venturing up into the mountains where the llamas live. Finding anywhere that sells yarn at all has been an adventure in itself.

The closest city to me is La Libertad, a one and a half hour sticky bus ride north. For the majority of the time I've been here, I've only been able to find one cotton blend. It's a fingering-weight made up of 4 2-ply strands held together. It's super cheap, and comes in a million colors. It is the ONLY yarn EVERYONE here seems to sell. That's been all fine and dandy, but after a while, you start to really want something with some more stretch and bulk to it. Last weekend, a yarn miracle occurred and a fabric store in La Libertad decided to actually start carrying some machine spun wool acrylic blend! The fact that I'm so excited about that should let you know how dry the yarn well is around here. And I'm not even sure what it is really. It doesn't feel like 100% acyclic, and it is definitely not 100% wool, so I'm going with that it's a blend. None of the yarn around here is labeled with a company name, a yarn-weight, yardage, nothing, so it's all guess work. I bought 10 skeins when I was there out of fear that they would sell it all and not have any yarn at all the next time, which would not be surprising considering my experience yarn shopping thus far.

So what can be done with the ubiquitous cotton fingering weight yarn? Well, I've tried to be as creative as one can be in a one-yarn town:
Lace Beret: The lace blocked well, but the lack of stretchiness in the cotton made it keep falling off my head after a couple weeks. Gifted to a friend with a bigger head. 

This one came out nice. Wavier edge then I'd like, but good. Started to turn yellow (fault of the yarn? Don't know), so stopped using it.
Nice, but again trouble with the ribbing holding it's stretch.

Very nice :) Color work seems to be the way to go with this yarn.  Makes for a totally smooth fabric.

Decided to stick to the technique I know works with this yarn. More colorwork! And isn't my model adorable :)

I discovered in the last couple hats that the yarn makes for a good soft fabric for slouchy hats, which I love.

I thought it would work, but... meh.

Total disaster. I was realing missing working on a nice lace pattern shawl, so I thought I'd see how this cotton stuff did. Not not good. Constantly curling, refuses to hold it's blocking, and the completely solid colors make it super boring.

OK... this yarn curls too much for my taste.

I've decided this is where it'll have to stay for now with this yarn until I find something else to knit with. Colorwork, and slouchy hats. My favorite anyways, so why mess with it

So my monogomous relationship with this cotton stuff is about to end, and I'm super excited. It's like discovering that there are more ice cream flavors in the world then just vanilla! But I have to say, I don't think I did too bad considering my selection of fiber!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hipster Cables

Slouchy hats are very "in" right now and there are tons of lovely slouchy beret and tam patterns available on Ravelry.  I thought I would contribute one more in a non-beret variety.  This is just a simple cabled hat that "slouches" just the way I like it.  It's also knit with bulky weight yarn, so it's warm and nice and quick.  Nothing too innovative, just easy and satisfying.  Enjoy!

Pattern:  Hipster Cables (Ravelry link!)
Yarn:  Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, Lion Brand
Needles:  size 10
Gauge:  8 stitches over 2 inches in stockinette


CO 56, place marker, join in the round (don't twist!)
*K2, P2*, repeat * * to end.
Continue in 2x2 rib (by repeating the K2 P2 pattern) for 4.5"

Increase Round:   *K4, P2, K3, Kfb, P1*, repeat * * 4 times, K4, P2, K4, P2 [60 sts]
Round 1-2:      *K4, P2*, repeat * * to end for 2 rounds
Round 3:           *Hold 2 stitches forward, K2, K2 from cable, P2, K4, P2*, repeat * * to end
Round 4-7:      *K4, P2*, repeat * * to end for 4 rounds
Round 8:           *K4, P2, hold 2 stitches forward, K2, K2 from cable, P2*, repeat * * to end
Round 9-12:    *K4, P2*, repeat * * to end for 4 rounds
Round 13-22:  Repeat rounds 3 through 12

Decrease Rounds:   *K2, K2tog, P2*, repeat * * to end
*K3, P2*, repeat * * to end
*S1 K1 Psso, K1, P2*, repeat * * to end
*K2, P2*, repeat * * to end
*K2, P2tog*, repeat * * to end
*K2, P1*, repeat * * to end
*K2tog, P1*, repeat * * to end
K2tog to end

Cut end, thread through remaining loops and pull closed.
Weave ends and block if desired

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Glitten Help

The Peace Leaf Glitten pattern that I've posted has a few strange steps, so I'm going to attempt to clarify them with some visual aids (ooooaaaaa).

The pattern for this walk thru can be found here.

In the "Mitten Flap" section (pg3), you need to carefully remove the waste yarn that you've knit across the palm of the glitten.  When you've done this you should have 20 stithes on the bottom and 19 stitches on the top.  This is what that should look like:

Then the instructions say to knit a 1x1 rib for the flap using the "top" needle, that would be this one:

Then you have to CO 20 stitches and knit them with the "bottom" needle in the round.  Leave a nice long tail when you CO for reasons that shall become apparent in a little bit.  In this pic, I have used a Cabled cast on, and then knit across the 20 stitches on the needle.  Then all you have to do is distribute the stitches on your DNPs and knit in the round.

Once you start working on the fingers it helps to put the stitches that you are not using on a given finger onto waste yarn with the ends of the waste yarn at the side that is next to the finger you are working on.  This way, when you are ready to move onto the next finger, you can take 5 stitches from each end of the waste yarn and have the right stitches without doing any shuffling.  

Ok.  The last weird bit.  Once you finished the fingers and the thumb, you need to attach the edge of the finger part to the rest of the mitten.  I would suggest weaving in all the ends EXCEPT the long tail I told you to leave earlier.  Getting all the ends out of the way makes it easier to see what's going on.  The tail is going to be used to sew the edge on to the inside of the glittens.  The first step is to turn the top part of the glitten inside out.
Then you place the loose edge of the finger part against it and use the a tapestry needle and the long tail to sew across the edge.

TADA!  That's it!  Hopefully that clarifies things :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Peace Leaf" Glittens!

Someone requested my pattern for my Ganja Glittens, or "Peace Leaf" Glittens on Ravelry, so I figured I finally give pattern designing a shot.  The idea behind this leaf motif is that I wanted to make something for my brother that he and his friends would get a kick out of, but I didn't want it to be glaringly obvious when you look at them.  I'm offering the pattern as a free download on Ravelry.

It's a quite bit more complicated then I first thought it would be.  I finally figured out how to get my spreadsheet program to behave itself so I could create the charts, but apparently that was just the beginning of my troubles. The original glittens were made over a year ago.  It was the first pattern I had ever designed and the first pattern I had ever did stranding on.  I think it came out pretty good considering, but the problem is my notes were pretty cryptic.  At the time, I'm pretty sure I was just making it up as I went along.

On top of having difficulties remembering what I had originally done, there were some parts of the glitten that are just very hard to describe how to do.  Hopefully it's clear enough, but if anyone is making any attempt at these are can't figure something out, by all means message me, it's probably some silly mistake that I made writing them up.

I also have been looking for the best way to my the pdf of my pattern available.  If anyone can help me out and knows a better way then how I've done it please let me know.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Blog Post

So, I have finally decided, after admiring all the pretty knitting blogs that I frequent, that I am finally going to take the plunge myself.  I suppose that I'll try to maintain this as primarily a knitting blog and a step towards designing my own pieces, but I'm sure some of my non-knitting life will seep in.  So here we go...

Right now I have several projects on the needles, including a half finished hat that I am attempting to design, but I am refusing to allow myself to work on any of them until after I've taken the LSATs.  I tend to be the type of knitter that MUST finish a project once I've started it, to the detriment of everything else that might be going on in my life.  Being that the LSATs are about 75% of how you get into law school, and knitting accomplishments are about, well, zero, I have had to painfully triage my daily activities to not include my "slightly" unhealthy addiction.

In order to fill the void with something fiber related, I have busied my spare moment unraveling sweaters for future knitting use.  It makes me feel like I've accomplished something knitting related, and when I need to stop to study, it is far easier to walk away from a half unraveled sweater then from a half finished hat, (just...a...few...more...rows!)  Here is a 100% wool XXL mens sweater that I have just finished pulling apart and hanked up:

It still needs of washed to remove the kinkiness, and I'm thinking about trying my hand at dyeing!  That should be a new adventure, but the beautiful world of internet knitters seems to have endless resources on how to do this.  (Methinks I foresee a future post.)

For any out there who doubt the ability of mere reclaimed thrift store sweaters to produce FOs as pretty as store bought yarn, allow me to enlighten you:

The beautiful thing about reclaimed yarn, is not only the whole tree hugging, carbon footprint, anti-consumption part of it, (though that is a nice plus,)  but also the money saving side.  All the pieces above are made of 100% natural fibers.  That amount and quality of yarn would have been out of the question on my miniscule college student budget.  I don't mind using acrylics for projects that warrant them (like baby clothes or things for people that I know will not have the patience to hand wash them), but if I can throw down 5 bucks at a thrift store, spend a couple hours taking it a part, and get several skeins of 100% merino, why not!

If anyone is interesting in reclaiming thrift store sweaters, Dawn Prickett's "My Virtual Insanity" blog has the best tutorial I've found, and it is defiantly better then anything I could come up with:  Recycling Sweaters For Yarn.