Saturday, November 22, 2014

Snowball Effect

I recently read about the snowball of gift making around this time of year (although I can't remember where, and therefore can't provide a link). But it goes like this:

I'm only going to make x gifts this year for these few people.
Well I guess I could add you too.
I suppose your sister would like something. I could throw something on the needles quick.
I just ran into Y the other day. If I get through these projects I could do something for them too...

And soon you're making too many things for too many people. It was great. Better than I'm describing it. I wish I remembered where I read it.

Anyway, I just finished my dad's present.

And the thoughts of gift making are beginning to snowball.

My son wants a toy dragon.
I've been on Pinterest too much this week.
I'm definitely making something for my father in law.
My mother in law mentioned she could really use some new mittens when I showed her my newly insulated rabbit mittens.
And my own mom did the same thing.

... Here I go, off to Ravelry and my hypothetical happy project place...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Superhero Mask Blueprints: Batman

This is a rough guide to how I made my son's Batman mask this year. 

It is for a two year old size, but could easily be adapted for a larger size, hence the "blueprint."
It is worked bottom-up, in the round on US size 6 circular needles.
It uses:
Half skein Red Heart Super Saver black yarn

Knitting in the round
i-cord edging

Cast on 78 and mark beginning of round.
Knit 3 rows in the round.
Decrease with a slip one-k2tog-psso technique at the beginning of the round for five rows. This will create a bit of a point.

Eye openings
Using the stitches centered over the decease (last stitch of round plus first two stitches of beginning of round, I'd that helps), work two rows in stockinette.
Continue working this center piece as follows:
Increase 1 in first and last stitches on right side.
Purl on wrong side.
Continue until you have 11 stitches.
At beginning of next two stockinette rows, cast on 5 stitches.

Set aside on another needle or scrap yarn. There should be 21 stitches set aside.

Continue with the rest of the mask in stockinette as follows:
Cast off five stitches at the beginning of the next two rows.
Work main portion of mask in stockinette, decreasing once at the beginning and end of the knit row until you have approximately 20 rows.

Join the center 21 stitches to the rest of the mask. Knit in the round until it measures two inches above the wearer's eyebrows.

Begin decreasing for crown shaping:
Decrease every five stitches
Knit one row
Decrease every four stitches
Knit one row
Decrease every three stitches
Knit one row
Decrease every other stitch
Knit one row
Knit 2 together to end of round, bind off and close any hole that might be visible.

Ears: Make 2
Allow 8-10" tail when you cast on as it is used later to affix the ear to the hat.
Using double point needles, cast on 14 stitches and distribute evenly between three needles. Knit 5 rows.
Repeat next three rows until there are three stitches left:
At beginning of round, begin a decrease 1, knit to end.
Knit two rows.

Tie off remaining three stitches.

I inserted a piece of cardboard from a cereal box cut and curved to shape and support the ears, although that is entirely optional. If you do that you will not be able to wash the mask.

Sew the ears on with the long tail you left.

Finish by applying an i-cord border along the bottom to help prevent the bottom edge from rolling up.

Superhero Mask Blueprints: Spiderman

Here is a rough guide on how I made my son's Spiderman mask this year. It is constructed top-down, in the round using double point needles and a circular needle (US6). 

I used: 
a full skein of Red Heart Super Saver (worsted weight), 
black puffy paint, 
some spare fiberglass screening I had laying around,
and some ribbon. No I didn't measure the ribbon... Sorry.

Cast on 6 stitches.
Join and knit in round, increasing in each stitch. 12 stitches
Knit every other row.
Row 3: increase in each stitch. 24 stitches
Row 5: increase every other stitch. 36 stitches
Row 7: increase every other stitch. 54 stitches

Here's where increasing gets a little hairy. I increased in every stitch for the next few increase rows and I ended up with 187 stitches. This was too much for a four year old head. I cast off with 80 stitches eventually. If I were to do this again, I would definitely only increase to about 120 stitches for that size. Unfortunately I can't offer more specific help since you have to increase based on the age you're knitting for. If you need to increase more, don't do it every stitch because it grows too fast and it will get ruffly or wavy.

When you have increased until the crown is large enough to cover the entire top surface of the head, knit in the round for four inches or until the hat fits just above the eyebrows.

Eye openings
Work 30 stitches (just pick some) as follows:
Row 1: K2tog, knit to last two stitches, k2tog
Row 2: Purl
Repeat those two rows until you have 8 stitches left.
Right side row: K2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog (5 stitches remain)
Wrong side: purl
Right side: knit 2tog, k1, k2tog, put stitches on separate double point needle or some scrap yarn.

Work remainder of head as follows:
Right side rows: increase one stitch at each end
Wrong side row: purl
*A note: I decreased almost 20 stitches throughout this section due to the fact that I increased too many stitches initially. I decreased in the back of the head so it would be fitted around the curve of the head while increasing at either end.

Repeat until you have approximately 22 rows (a few rows shorter than the piece you have set aside). At the beginning of next two rows, cast on 5 stitches.
Work one more right side row, picking up the three stitches you had saved from the center of the eye holes, so that you are working in the round knitting on the right side again. I also did a slip one-k2tog-psso decrease where those center three stitches were. I repeated that decrease in the same spot about three times.
If needed, after trying the mask on the intended recipient and it looks like it will be loose, decrease every five stitches (every 4 stitches, 3, etc until it fits well without being too difficult to put on). Do not go below 80 stitches for a toddler-sized mask. Bind off.
It will look naked and sad. This will change.

Cut a piece of screening in the shape of the eye openings. Make sure the screen is folded in half so that both sides are connected. I folded a black ribbon in half all the way around for a border. You might also choose to make an i-cord or use bias tape or nothing at all around the eyes. Sew in place (I machine sewed this piece on).
We're getting somewhere now...

 Using puff paint, lightly add webbing lines. Let dry. If you're lazy like me you'll just do the front. Be a supermom and do the back too though... Haha!
Let your little hero play and have fun. Hope this helped steer someone in the right direction for making this. Comment if any of the instructions are too confusing and I'll do my best to edit it.

Marigolds' Loft

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nothing too Exciting

I just have a couple projects to share. I'm still working on my cardigan and I've been working steadily on a hat for my dad's Christmas present.
The yarn I'm using for the cardigan had a knot that took me an hour + to untangle. I kid you knot. It was awful. (Yes I wrote that on purpose. It was not a typo...)
Yup. This knot. I promise you it was way
more awful than the photo shows.
My dad's hat was supposed to be a lot more interesting. I was going to do a pattern full of faire isle but when I ran it past my mom she said he probably wouldn't wear it... Too colorful or something.
So I got out a boring oatmeal colored skein of Cascade Sierra and found a simple pattern that still had some subtle design elements to it. I did decide to add some blue stripes above the line where the brim will be folded up. I'll be making the faire isle hat for my father in law instead.
Accurate colors this morning!

Grown men, I've found, are the worst to knit for. I never know what color schemes to use and they're so freaking picky about styles. At least the ones I know. Kids are by far the easiest since they're usually excited about whatever you knit for them... Anyway, go enjoy the rest of your week!

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Selfish Project

Yup. I cast on for my Mudblood Cardigan from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits patterns. In bright yellow. I made myself a bright yellow scrub top for work a few years ago and I have no sweaters to wear with it. I think I'll be wearing this cardi primarily at work once I finish.

As for reading, I haven't been doing much although I'm still working on the same book.

I really should be working on Christmas presents. This year I'm making gifts just for my dad and my father in law I think.

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