Monday, March 29, 2010

For the Challenge

The last few weeks I've noticed a change in the type of projects I've been choosing. It seems that I've lost the desire to make "things", and I've been focusing my creative energies on techniques I find to be a challenge. For instance, my daughter and I have been exploring the possibilities of knitting and designing in 1/4 scale.

Pencil and toothpick included for scale.

She purchased an Ellowyne Wilde fashion doll for a model, and now we are trying out various, ultra fine knitting needles and yarns to not just knit doll clothes, but to make them truly 1/4 scale garments. The swatch above is laceweight yarn knit on size 1.2mm needles (00-00 American). The gauge is 15 sts to the INCH! That's 60 stitches over 4", or the 1/4 scale equivalent of a heavy worsted. Wow, I wonder what I'd have to knit with to get the 1/4 scale equivalent of a fingering weight?!

Next up in the challenge department was an intarsia class I took at Fibres West over the weekend. It was taught by Vanessa Bentley. I've done intarsia before and hated it. I took the class to see if there were any little tips I was missing, something that would make it easier, less frustrating. To Vanessa's credit I think I could now learn to love it. . . . well, at least enjoy it for the challenge it is anyway, which is a good thing because I still have to do that argyle sock, (a form of intarsia), for the Level II Master Knitters certification.

And finally, while I was at Fibres West I stumbled upon this little gem of a book. "Knit One Below" by Elise Duvekot, is a book chock full of projects using the "knit one below" technique, something totally new to me. I've knit into the stitch below before, it's the basis of fisherman's rib, but this is a variant of that idea I've not explored before. I'm practising the technique using dishcloth cotton scraps I had on hand. Maybe the swatch will become a washcloth to tuck in my gym bag.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day, the perfect day to start a large, green project.

This will be the Miralda Triangular Shawl done in my handspun, hand dyed, 50/50 camel/silk laceweight. After searching Ravelry for hours for just the right pattern I ended up using one I have had all along in the "Knitted Lace of Estonia" by Nancy Bush. It was sitting right there in my personal crafting library.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Handspun For Barbie

This is the last Barbie outfit I had time to make before wrapping up Kaylen's birthday presents.

The fisherman's rib sweater and pants are hand knit from bits of yarn I had on hand. The pattern is "#2 White Sweater and Black Trousers", by Sticka till Barbie

The hat is a teeny, tiny version of a pattern meant for human sized heads, but which works equally well for dolls. "Lifestyle Top down Hats, No Swatch Needed", by Charisa Martin Cairn

I knit it up from a teeny, tiny ball of leftover handspun.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Barbie's Long Dress

Another Barbie outfit for Kaylen's upcoming third birthday.

This time a long, crocheted, strapless evening dress,

buttoned up the back,

with a warm, knitted, kid mohair wrap to go with it.

I hope she likes it. It should match the pink streaks in "Merliah's" (mermaid Barbie's) hair.

The pattern for the dress is Red Shell st Evening Gown by Lynne Sears
For the stole I cast on 12 sts on large needles and knit every row for 12 inches.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Barbie's New Figure

My oldest granddaughter's third birthday is in about a week and she has asked for the Mermaid Barbie . . . . . and Disney Pixar Colour Changer Cars. A little lady with quite the diverse interests!

I'm quite happy to get Kaylen her first Barbie. I received my first Barbie for my third birthday too. Gradually, over a period of many years, my mother made a huge box full of knitted Barbie clothes for my dolls. I was the envy of all my friends. When I got older and out grew my fascination with the fashion dolls I gave them all away. All the dolls and all those hand knit clothes to the first near stranger who expressed an interest in them. I can only imagine how crushed my mother had been, but at the time it seemed to me that the day when I would have children of my own (let alone grandchildren) seemed so far away.

In retrospect it's just as well that I gave those old doll clothes away to someone who could use them and love them back then because Barbie has changed a lot since I knew her. Back in my day Barbie had an overly large bust and an unrealistically tiny waist. Now her hips are wider, her waistline is thicker and her bust is smaller. The doll clothes patterns from my mother's old McCall's books don't fit this new version. I've had to hunt down new patterns.

This is the first of many outfits I will likely be making for not only Kaylen's dolls, but for her little sister Kenzie's dolls as well. I hope they enjoy them and have many happy hours playing together.

I did manage to hunt down the specific doll Kaylen requested, but the "Fashionista Barbie" in these pictures is mine and will live at my house. Grandma needs a doll of her own to fit and model the clothes as they are made.

The dress here is a version of #132 "Lilac Long Dress" by Sticka till Barbie. The hat is # A42 "White/Lilac Hat" also by Sticka till Barbie. Yarn used is oddments of leftover sock and fingering weight yarn.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wisp of Ovation

I'm not geared for stress and deadlines, especially artificial imposed ones like the Knitting Olympics, so I didn't participate, but I admire those who did challenge themselves and worked tirelessly in pursuit of "gold". I knit during the Olympics, but not frantically, not continuously, and not deserving of any gold medals for accomplishing the near impossible.

This is "Wisp", from a free pattern by Cheryl Niamath.

I knit it from S.R. Kertzer Ovation on 5mm needles for a lofty, whisper light, cloud of a scarf/cowl/wrap. It's hard to believe that something that weighs only 1 ounce (less than 25 grams), could be so cuddly and warm.