Wednesday, December 27, 2006

After Christmas

Marry Christmas to all of you! I had a very nice Xmas day with my family in Brussels. We had oysters and crab on the 24Th and my daddy cooked our favorite dish, "canard à l'orange", the 25Th at dinner. How delicious!

Here are the snowflakes I made for the Xmas tree and the hat I made for my sister :-)
Then we spent time playing cards, playing with the kitties and my sis' dog and simply being together. A very Happy Christmas, it's a pity my mom wasn't with us...

The pattern I used, from left to right: 1, 2, 3, 4

Monday, December 25, 2006

Aki ready to go

Our little friend is ready to become my sister's new amigurumi kitty, bye bye Aki, see you soon!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Nami meets Aki

Because my amigurumi cat Nami was feeling lonely, and because I wanted to make a special present for my sister, I made him and her a new friend...

And here he is! I called him Aki (born in Autumn). It took me much longer to make Aki than Nami and I must admit that I made a few mistakes that I had to fix, undoing one of his legs. Oops!
Well I guess I'm just more attentive when I make a project the first time... But nevertheless I finished it right on time for Christmas, I hope my sis will love him!

Nami was pretty curious about the making of his friend-to-be, and followed with attention every step I made adding his personal contribution to the assembling of the amigurumi cat, as you can see ;-)

And finally they had a good time chatting and playing, trying new postures, and preparing for a long goodbye. But I think they'll keep in touch and my sis will surely keep us up to date from Milan on how Aki will behave!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Still recycling

I've decided to attach a green collar to my old purple sweater I've just undone. I've picked up and knitted 75 stitches. At the beginning I've worked on 3x2 rib for 6 rows and the k2tog the knitted ribs, ending with a 2x2 rib.
I'm pretty satisfied with the results. I really like the contrast between the two colors. Once I've finished the turtle neck I have to decide if lengthen the lower part of the sweater in purple or go on with the contrast and make it green... What a difficult choice! ;-)

In the meanwhile yesterday, watching some of "Prison Beak"'s episode I missed last year, I finished another "Boyfriend hat", from the "Cozy Crochet Kit". A really nice and simple pattern worked in vertical hdcs, in backstitches only, that make a very nice vertical rib. I love crocheted hats, they are so cool and fast to do!

Next cap I'll make is a specific request from my sister, she wants this one, found on the lovely website Knitty. I really like the hat, but I have a doubt with the pattern that starts from down to top, very bizarre... We'll see if I can make it!!

Regarding the two socks, I've progressed a little bit, I hope I'll finish the first striped one today, watching the remaining episodes of "Prison Break"...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Once is not enough

Since I started knitting and crocheting last year, I quickly understood that I am more a starter than a finisher, as the two uncompleted socks remind me every day (two different socks not a pair)... But lately I became even a destroyer, undoing what I had previously done. That's a thing that I find really amazing in knitting and crocheting, you can wear a scarf or a sweater for years and if one day you don't like it anymore, you just pull a thread and in a few minutes you'll have a huge skein of yarn ready to be knitted or crocheted anew with another project. Isn't that amazing?

Ain't that the basic principle of recycling? Knitting and Crocheting are in some way environment friendly and, we could say, ecologically savvy. I felt in this recycling mood lately and I have decided to undo three scarves and an old sweater that had served me for three years.
For the sleeveless sweater I'm thinking about adding a new round neck in a contrasting color (what about in polar combat?), and lengthen the lower part in the same contrasting color, or maybe I could reuse the purple yarn, but I guess it would be tricky to obtain exactly the same gauge as the original.

As for the scarves, for the first one, made in red cotton, the recycle was easy, it became two lovely Christmas hats for some baby girls. I don't really know what to do with the Artfiber's Mammoth superfine baby alpaca I took from two other scarves, though. The texture of this fiber is so uncommon and messy that the scarves I made took soon a kind of grungy feeling that made them look "old". The result after one year wasn't satisfying, despite the fact that the colors are still bright and the wool is so soft! So I thought that these two skeins should have a second chance, but I don't know how to use them, any suggestions?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Brioche Scarf for Claudia

Here it is, I've finished! :-D
I'm pretty happy with the results. This Brioche stitch goes pretty fast and the texture is so soft and fluffy, I guess that's why it is called "brioche".
Anyway, I'm thinking about adding one or two knitted or crocheted flowers to the edges of the scarf, just to make it more feminine, but I'm not sure my friend Claudia loves "girly" accessories ;-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nami preparing for Christmas

My new friend Nami the amigurumi cat really helped me this year preparing Christmas presents... Well he was taking a nap from time to time, but he was really helpful ;-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The birth of Nami

Thanks to the marvelous creativity of Nekoyama, and the gentle translation of her amigurumi cat pattern from Japanese to English I could finally make my Amineko too! :-D

I fell in love with this great amigurumi last year, I even tried to make my cat from the Japanese pattern,without success. But recently, checking out the website for new pics I saw that the pattern was translated and, hurray, I could finally try to make an Amineko too!

The pics the author takes of the Aminekos are simply awesome, I'm seriously thinking of buying the book, it must be great. In the meanwhile I'm taking some pics of my new kitty-friend and I'm making another one for my sister.

I named my new friend NAMI, which means "wave", because he was born by the sea ;-)
"Hello" says Nami to all of you!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Brioche Stitch Explained

Looking inside the book "Viva Poncho", that I often use as inspiration, I found the lovely "Desiree Poncho" (in the pic in pink), and I found this Brioche stitch pattern very very nice, perfect of a scarf made with the new Rowan Polar yarn I just bought on eBay. So I tried.
The pattern looked very easy:

Co multiples of 3 sts
Found Row: *yo, sl 1, k1*
1st Row: *yo, sl 1, k2tog*
Repeat 1st row for pattern.

Simple isn't it? Well it is SO elementary that it's impossible to figure it out. How do you start a row with a yarn over? And how do you yarn over? When it says Slip 1, it is knitwise or purlwise? The number of sts will double from found row and row 1?

It took me a whole day of research on the web, I've found 1000 explanation but none clear and understandable. So I tried every possible combination, knitting and undoing what I had knitted, over and over again. The pattern was always a mess... until now!
I finally got it!!! I am so happy that I want to share my experience with you, so that from now on if you find a brioche stitch (or brioche rib) pattern you'll know how to do it without going crazy :-)

Here some tips I figured out:

1. YO = Yarn over in this pattern does not mean a usual yarn over, as if to make 1. But it means bring yarn forward, toward you. And keep it in front of you as if to purl. So you'll always start your row with the yarn in front of you. Then you'll slip one stitch as follows.

2. Sl 1 = Because the Brioche stitch is a rib pattern, which usually alternates knits and purls, I figured that slip 1, meant slip 1 as if to purl, because after that you always knit.

3. K2tog = Because the yarn is in front of you as if to purl, when you'll knit the next 2 sts tog (or k1 in found row) you'll bring naturally the yarn back, making a new st crossed above the slipped st (you'll knit them tog on the next row). You always knit together 2 crossed sts (a slipped one from precedent row and the stitch you made bringing the yarn back to knit). After knitting the sts, bring anew the yarn toward you (yo in the pattern) and restart.

3. Foundation row = Begin as it follows (this tip comes from Viva Poncho): Bring Yarn forward (yo), slip 1 (purlwise), k2tog, then continue as in pattern, *yo (=bring yarn forward), sl 1 (purlwise), k1*. If you follow this tip count one more stitch to the multiples of 3 sts.

So, after all this tying change the pattern as it follows:
yo -> Yf= Bring yarn forward as if to purl
sl1 -> Sl1p= Slip 1 purlwise

Cast on multiple of 3 sts (+1 if you follow the Viva Poncho Tip on foundation row)
Foundation row: (Yf, Sl1p, k2tog;) *yf, sl1p, k1*. Repeat ** till the end of row
Row 1: *yf, sl1p, k2tog*. Repeat **
Repeat row 1 for pattern

I hope I've helped some of you to figure this pattern out, because now that I got it, it goes really fast and the texture of the ribs obtained is fluffy and exquisite. Here's an example of the Brioche rib in Polar Combat (click to enlarge).

Happy Knitting!

A grande richiesta aggiungo la spiegazione anche in italiano. Con un'avvertenza, prima di iniziare uno schema impratichitevi un po' con il punto. E' molto bello e veloce, ma difficilissimo da recuperare in caso di errore. Per cui meglio fare 2-3 prove prima di partire con la sciarpa o il poncho.

Monta maglie multiple di 3

Primo rigo di fondazione: *porta il filo verso di te (come se dovessi fare un rovescio), fai scivolare 1 maglia come se dovessi lavorarla a rovescio, lavora 1 maglia al dritto**. Ripeti da * a **
NB: quando lavori la maglia al dritto crei un incrocio col filo che hai precedentemente portato in avanti.

Rigo 1
: *porta il filo verso di te (come se dovessi fare un rovescio), fai scivolare 1 maglia come se dovessi lavorarla a rovescio, lavora 2 maglie insieme al dritto*. Ripeti da * a **.
NB: Le due maglie che lavori insieme sono incrociate, perché una delle due è quella che hai creato all'andata.

Ripeti il rigo 1

Monday, December 04, 2006

A touch of fashion

Remember the neck warmer I made for my girlfriends? Well I finally found the special touch that was missing! I liked the neck warmers, but they were like dull... So I asked my sister, who's a very fashion guru, what she thought of my idea: an excessive felted flower and a little soft ribbon-like cord. And she said: go for it! So here they are, finished:

And here they are once worn. What you think? I really like this "Vogue Knitting" kind of feeling ;-)