New to the Queue: A little bit of everything

Sidenote: This is the second of three new weekly features I’m introducing. New to the Queue will appear each Monday and will feature patterns added to Ravelry during the previous week that I love enough to add to my queue. The third feature, Yarn of the Week, will appear Wednesday.

Mini Lovey Blankie Menagerie

Mini Lovey Blankie Menageri

Photo courtesy of Rainebo on Ravelry.

I cannot get over how adorable these little lovies are. I may still only be in the planning stages for my wedding, but I will definitely be making a few of these for my own kids when I have them in a few years. My fiance’s nephews have similar lovies and they love them, so that combined the handknit (and extreme cuteness) factor of this pattern makes it an instant queue for me.

Price:$6 USD

Craft: knitting

DesignerLorraine Pistorio


Flight Home Shawl

Flight Home Shawl

Photo courtesy of YuliaAV on Ravelry.

I love the way the lace patterns in this shawl work together. The diamonds bend with the semicircle shape of the shawl so nicely, and wherever the shaping is it blends in well enough that I can’t actually see it. I also love that the shape of this shawl wraps around, so it would have no trouble staying on my shoulders.

Price: $5 CAD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Yulia Vysochina


Country Cottage Pillow Cover

Country Cottage Pillow Cover

Photo courtesy of BibbityBobble on Ravelry.

As soon as I saw this pattern, I had to queue it. I’m currently in cool-things-for-the-house mode, having recently completed setting up wedding registries with my fiance. These pillow covers will be perfect for our future house, and I can make our pillows the exact colors we want!

Price: free

Craft: knitting

Designer: Beth Richardson


Stray Cat

Stray Cat Shawl

Photo courtesy of AnimaKnits on Ravelry.

This shawl caught my eye after I saw a finished project of it on the Ravelry forum radar. I love the use of stripes to keep the solid interior section interesting, and the transition to a lacy border for a bit of flair at the end.

Price: $6 USD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Kristina Vilimaite


Blairsden

Blairsden

Photo courtesy of SFAlpacas on Ravelry.

I have a thing for stripes this week, apparently. This sweater jumped out at me from the pattern search this weekend. I love that the stripes begin around the bust and end before the waist. There’s enough striping to make the sweater interesting, but they don’t overwhelm the design. I have a feeling this cardigan will find its way into my wardrobe soon.

Price: $5 USD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Maria Olson

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Gearing up for the Spring 2011 House Cup term!

It’s almost May, and as my House Cup friends know, that means it’s almost time for a new term! Only 2 days until the new term starts, which means Sorting is up and the new common rooms are open!

What that means, to those unfamiliar with the Cup, is that I am frantically trying to free my needles, while planning what I’ll be making in the next three months.

Currently, I have three projects on the needles/hook: a pair of Crocheted Felted Slippers, a shawl I’m test knitting, and a pair of Endpaper Mitts. The slippers and mitts are both about half done (one of the pair is done) and the shawl is about 25% done, I think (it’s so hard to gauge the halfway mark on triangular shawls!).

I’ll probably be putting the mitts and slippers aside for a while, but will definitely be finishing the shawl, since the deadline for the test knit is mid-May. Side note – check out the cool cobweb-like appearance my alpaca yarn is giving between stitches!

I’ve got some pretty big plans for this term, and I mean that quite literally. Not only am I going to attempt to get as many classes done as I can, plus detention, but now that I’ve completed one OWL, I can propose two in one term, and I am crazy enough to do it!

In fact, I think I’m extra crazy when you consider what my plans for my two OWLs are.

This beautifully tonaled yarn should make a really pretty shawl.

One of my proposals is to make a full-size beaded Aeolian shawl, which should use about 1100 yards of yarn (according to the pattern), and a couple thousand beads. I’ll be using size two needles, so it will probably be pretty slow going, but the end result should be great. I’ll be using a blue-green laceweight yarn with matching blue-green beads, both of which I found on Etsy. I have to admit, I was thrilled to discover that my beads perfectly matched my yarn.

Looking at other projects on Ravelry, I think I should be able to get the shawl done within the three month timespan.

One difficulty I do anticipate is figuring out where my halfway point is. It’s difficult because the shawl gets bigger with almost every row, so I can’t just measure halfway. I’m going to have to do some research on what others have considered their halfway point, since I know there have been several other OWL Aeolians.

My other OWL will be good for knitting on the go and on car trips, which is good because I’ll be doing a lot of riding in the car this summer: I’m planning to make a Bernat Sampler Afghan, with some minor changes. The pattern as written calls for 30 blocks measuring 7″ by 9″, with 15 each of two colors, making a blanket that’s about 4 feet long and just under 4 feet wide. There are five different texture patterns to the blocks, and they’re arranged in a specific order.

I’ll be using dark green, dark blue and black to make my blanket.

My blanket is also going to be 30 blocks, arranged in the same texture pattern, but they’re going to be 10″ by 12″ and I’m going to make 10 each of three colors. My blanket should be 50″ by 72″ before any edging, so it should be a full afghan size instead of a lap blanket.

I won’t be doing all 30 squares for the OWL, however, as I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to finish it in the three months, especially considering I’ll also be working on the classes and Aeolian. My proposal is going to be for 19 sqaures: 9 black and 10 blue. I already knit one black square to use as my gauge swatch, and that square took me about three hours to knit, so I’m estimating my OWL at around 55 crafting hours, averaging about a block and a half a week.

For right now, I’m working to get that Snowdrop Shawl done so I can properly focus on my new term. My main problem this weekend is going to be deciding whether to cast on and swatch my Aeolian, or work to finish the other shawl! 🙂

Frustration yields creativity

How difficult is it to find one simple little knitting tool?

Apparently, if that tool is a yarn stranding guide, the answer is nearly impossible.

I’m currently knitting a pair of Endpaper Mitts, and have to switch colors every 1 to 3 stitches. Normally, when I’m knitting colorwork, I’ll just drop one color, pick up the next and knit, drop that one, pick up the next and knit, etc. When you’ve got 4 or 5 stitches before you pick up the other color again, that’s not so bad. However, picking up a new yarn every other stitch gets tedious quickly.

I know one method of stranded knitting is to hold one color in your left hand and knit it continental style, and hold the other color in your right hand and knit it English style. However, try as I might, I have a lot of difficulty knitting English style. I just can’t seem to get my tension to match that of my usual continental knitting, which is a problem when you’re using both styles in one object.

Having seen stranding guides in the store before, I figured purchasing one would be the perfect solution to my problem. I’d seen them in stores constantly, even laughed at why someone would need that (before I knew how annoying the drop-and-pick-up) can really be.

Do you think I could find one when I actually needed it? Of course not! I tried both big box craft stores and specialty yarn stores, and just could not find one. The only place I could find one was on KnitPicks.com, which didn’t help much considering I’m not planning on spending a full $50 at the moment to get free shipping, and the shipping alone on just the stranding guide would have been more than three times the price of the item.

Frustrated, I finally had the epiphany that I (hopefully) could make my own! I bought some 18 gauge aluminum craft wire at Michaels, with a coupon of course, and brought it home. I figured the aluminum wire would be best because it’s softer and easier to cut than copper, even at the thicker gauge, and it wouldn’t turn my finger green.

I bent the end of the wire around a size 8 (5.0 mm) dpn I just happened to have in my purse, of course, wrapped the rest of the wire around my finger a few times, cut the wire leaving some length on the end, and wrapped the loose end around the same dpn. Happily, I tried it out and it’s working perfectly! Hopefully this mini-tutorial can help someone else as frustrated as I was 🙂

Harry Potter Time-Turner

time turner light

I came up with this little piece at home while trying to think of a small supplemental birthday gift for my friend’s upcoming birthday. I tried to make it look as much like the movie one as possible in crochet, but there were too many little moving parts in the real ones.

Hourglass:

with beige, ch 12, join with sl st, being careful not to twist, ch 1

Round 1: sc in each ch around, join with sl st, ch1 (12)

Round 2: sc in each st around, join with sl st, ch1 (12)

Round 3: sc in each st around, join with sl st, ch1 (12)

Round 4: *sc in next 2 sts, sc dec*, repeat from * around, join with sl st, ch1 (9)

Round 5: *sc, sc dec*, repeat from * around, join with sl st, ch1 (6)

Round 6: sc dec three times, join with sl st, ch1 (3)

Round 7: 2 sc in each st around, join with sl st, ch1 (6)

Round 8: *sc, 2 sc in next st*, repeat from * around, join with sl st, ch1 (9)

Round 9: *2 sc, 2 sc in next st*, repeat from * around, join with sl st, ch1 (12)

Round 10: sc in each st around, join with sl st, ch1 (12)

Round 11: sc in each st around, join with sl st, ch1 (12)

fasten off, leaving a long enough tail for sewing

stuff both sides of hourglass with small amount of stuffing and sew ends together.

Casing (make 2):

 with yellow, ch 3

Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook and next st, ch 1, turn (2)

Row 2: 2 sc in each sc, ch 1, turn (4)

Row 3: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 2 sts, 3 sc in last st, ch 1, turn (7)

Row 4: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 5 sts, 3 sc in last st, ch 1, turn (10)

Row 5: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 8 sts, 2 sc in last st, ch 1, turn (12)

Row 6: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 10 sts, 2 sc in last st, ch 1, turn (14)

Row 7: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 12 sts, 2 sc in last st, ch 10, turn upside down (16)

Row 7.5: sc in bottom loop of 2nd ch from hook, sc in each st across and join at main piece. fasten off.

 Finish by sewing loose ends of casings to ends of hourglass.

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