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11  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / First Stab at Hand "Dyed" Plastic Bag Yarn-- Happy Earth Day! on: April 22, 2012 08:56:59 AM


I was overjoyed to learn about plarn some time ago. I was in college (read: no yarn budget), so the idea of making my own yarn out of the plastic bags I already had was an absolute win. I learned the method from this excellent tutorial from RecycleCindy & had loads of fun making durable sling bags & even a garden tote for my mom. Instant hipster street cred!

But, eventually, I got bored. As it turns out, I do almost all my shopping from places with unattractive white bags with rudely bold logos, and I got tired of my projects reflecting that fact.

After a period of dormancy, I was determined to try plarn again, and brainstormed a few ways to improve upon or spice up the process. Several unsuccessful experiments later (let me just tell you now: drop spindle + plarn = curse words), I stumbled upon a darn useful method of stripping logos off & introducing some intentional color into the otherwise bland world of plarn.

First off, I used rubbing alcohol to remove the logo & writing from each bag.


Then I went to town with the permanent markers-- see tutorial post for tips about marker selection if you want to try it yourself


I rolled & sliced it into strips just like in Cindy's directions:



Then looped the strips together & crocheted a groovy self-variegating plarn swatch!


I'm super psyched to try more with this method, even though it is a bit time-consuming. The bags are basically like natural sock blanks, so I'm imagining all kinds of crazy dyeing like zigzags, vertical stripes, polka dots, faux Fair Isles... And for Mother's Day, I'm helping my niece & nephew draw pictures on their bags before we plarn-ify them into a Garden Tool Tote for their mom. Wheeeeee, too much fun!

If you'd like to read more about the recycley roots of this project & some tips for trying it yourself, boogie on over to this here post & enjoy!
12  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Re: Little Green Canary - wool felted creature on: February 02, 2012 08:43:06 AM
I am just in love with his big ol' feets and his teeny tiny beak! What a darling Smiley
13  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: The Owl of Wisdom on: January 25, 2012 06:34:00 AM
How absolutely charming! I love his messy little feather tufts-- he really looks wise Smiley
14  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: The 2-Hour, $4 Carmelita Headband! on: November 21, 2011 07:38:19 AM
Good luck, ladies! Happy knitting Smiley
15  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Knitted brown hat with amigurumi lion on: November 20, 2011 09:27:52 AM
Cutie patootie! Mmmm, I am seeing Christmas presents for my little cousins... Cheesy

Thanks for the adorable inspiration!
16  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / The 2-Hour, $4 Carmelita Headband! on: November 19, 2011 08:23:36 AM
This pattern has been distilled & refined so many times, it belongs in a damn bottle. It all began with a simple request: to create a headband cute enough to rope in new knitters, but simple enough that they can actually make one themselves (with several hours of training & guidance from yours truly, that is). Many prototypes & half-finished experiments later, I'm glad to say my beginners prevailed & are unbelievably proud of the result! The class version was a smidgen different-- garter stitch edges instead of ribbing to help them build confidence before purling arrives on the scene-- but I'm rather pleased with the final result.

Alert to my fellow time-crunched holiday knitters out there: especially if you already know how to make short rows, this is an embarrassingly fast knit. Start-to-finish, including sewing on a button, I pumped the sample out in an hour & a half (and I'm not particularly speedy in the first place). I used top notch chunky baby alpaca yarn, but the expense is offset by the fact that you can easily squeeze 3 or maybe 4 bands out of 1 hank. If you're new to short rows, your first try might take a little longer, but it's a wonderful technique that crops up all over the place.

Without further ado, the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet Carmelita Headband!





Pattern available for free at Alpaca Direct
17  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: TARDIS socks on: October 23, 2011 08:28:39 AM
OHMYGOSH amazing! Ravelry queue, here comes the TARDIS!
18  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Mandrake !! on: September 28, 2011 08:01:01 AM
Ohmygod wow! As soon as I saw the thumbnail for this, I was thinking, "Holy poo, I hope that's what I think it is..." and it totally was! So great, awesome work.
19  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Rainbow Unicorn on: September 27, 2011 12:57:19 PM
AAAAAHHH this is my new very most favorite thing EVARRRR! Fabulous concept & perfect execution Smiley
20  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Celebrate Banned Books Week with Owlie Cabled Study Gloves! (with pattern) on: September 24, 2011 03:15:25 PM


Just in time to cozy up with my new copy of Grendel in honor of Banned Books Week! I perpetually get cold hands while I read, so I find myself contorting into odd poses to keep a blanket around my arms without blocking the light on the book. But no more! I splurged for chunky baby alpaca, so chilly will no longer be an issue Smiley

In case you are itching to try some, this is my "by the numbers" version of the pattern, designed to walk you through stitch-by-stitch. Pretty print-formatted PDFs are available at my blog, as is a no-nonsense edition of the pattern for smartypants knitters.

Materials:
  • 1 hank Cascade Chunky Baby Alpaca (or 100 yd similar yarn)
  • Five US 10 double-pointed needles
  • stitch marker
  • cable needle
  • Four 1/4″ buttons, plus sewing needle & thread

Stitches & Abbreviations:
  • dpns double-pointed needles
  • m1 make 1 new stitch by picking up the running thread from the back & knitting it
  • c4b slip 2 stitches to cable needle & bring to back of your work, knit 2 regular stitches, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle
  • c4f slip 2 stitches to cable needle & bring to front of your work, knit 2 regular stitches, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle
  • k2tog knit 2 stitches together
  • [instructions] brackets dont need any special treatment; they are just to help keep instructions organized

Directions:

Left glove:

Cast on 20 stitches & divide evenly between 4 dpns, being careful not to twist the cast-on. Place marker & join.

  • Rounds 1-12: *k2, p2* repeat around (2 x 2 ribbing)
  • Round 13:  knit around
  • Round 14: *k4, m1* repeat around 25 stitches in round
  • Round 15: knit around

Now, youll rearrange the stitches on your dpns to make the counting easier. From the marker, leave 2 stitches on the first dpn. Place the next 12 stitches on the second dpn. Place the next 9 stitches on the third dpn & leave the last 2 stitches on the fourth dpn. The brackets will help you see what happens on each dpn.

  • Round 16: [k1, m1, k1], [k2, p8, k2], [k9], [k1, m1, k1] 27 stitches in round
  • Round 17: [k3], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k3]
  • Round 18: [k1, m1, k2], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k2, m1, k1] 29 stitches in round
  • Round 19: [k4], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k9], [k4]
  • Round 20: [k1, m1, k3], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k3, m1, k1] 31 stitches in round
  • Rounds 21-24: [k5], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 25: [k5], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k9], [k4]
  • Round 26: [k5], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Rounds 27 & 28: [k5,], [p2, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 29: [k5], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 30: [k5], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k9], [k4]
  • Round 31: [k5], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 32: knit around
  • Round 33: [k5], [k12], [k9], but dont work the last 5 stitches on the fourth dpn

Slip the first 5 stitches  of the round & the last 5 stitches of the round onto a piece of scrap yarn & set aside these will become your gloves thumb later (10 stitches total). Cast on 1 extra stitch across the gap to connect the remaining stitches in a round, and rearrange evenly on your dpns (22 stitches total).

  • Rounds 34 & 35: knit around
  • Round 36: purl around
  • Round 37: *k2tog, yo* repeat around
  • Round 38: purl around
  • Round 39: knit around

Loosely bind off the 22 stitches from your dpns.

Slip the thumb stitches back onto your dpns & distribute evenly (you may only want to use 3 dpns here). Pick up & knit 1 stitch in the gap where the thumb meets the body of the glove (11 stitches total).

Rounds 1-3: knit around

Loosely bind off all thumb stitches.

Right glove:

Cast on 20 stitches & divide evenly between 4 dpns, being careful not to twist the cast-on. Place marker & join.

  • Rounds 1-12: *k2, p2* repeat around (2 x 2 ribbing)
  • Round 13:  knit around
  • Round 14: *k4, m1* repeat around 25 stitches in round
  • Round 15: knit around

Now, youll rearrange the stitches on your dpns to make the counting easier. From the marker, leave 2 stitches on the first dpn. Place the next 9 stitches on the second dpn. Place the next 12 stitches on the third dpn & leave the last 2 stitches on the fourth dpn. The brackets will help you see what happens on each dpn.

  • Round 16: [k1, m1, k1], [k9], [k2, p8, k2], [k1, m1, k1] 27 stitches in round
  • Round 17: [k3], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k3]
  • Round 18: [k1, m1, k2], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k2, m1, k1] 29 stitches in round
  • Round 19: [k4], [k9], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k4]
  • Round 20: [k1, m1, k3], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k3, m1, k1] 31 stitches in round
  • Rounds 21-24: [k5], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k5]
  • Round 25: [k5], [k9], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k4]
  • Round 26: [k5], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k5]
  • Rounds 27 & 28: [k5,], [k9], [p2, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1], [k5]
  • Round 29: [k5], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k5]
  • Round 30: [k5], [k9], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k4]
  • Round 31: [k5], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k5]
  • Round 32: knit around
  • Round 33: [k5], [k9], [k12], but dont work the last 5 stitches on the fourth dpn

Slip the first 5 stitches  of the round & the last 5 stitches of the round onto a piece of scrap yarn & set aside these will become your gloves thumb later (10 stitches total). Cast on 1 extra stitch across the gap to connect the remaining stitches in a round, and rearrange evenly on your dpns (22 stitches total).

  • Rounds 34 & 35: knit around
  • Round 36: purl around
  • Round 37: *k2tog, yo* repeat around
  • Round 38: purl around
  • Round 39: knit around

Loosely bind off the 22 stitches from your dpns.

Slip the thumb stitches back onto your dpns & distribute evenly (you may only want to use 3 dpns here). Pick up & knit 1 stitch in the gap where the thumb meets the body of the glove (11 stitches total).

Rounds 1-3: knit around

Loosely bind off all thumb stitches.

Diving in Deeper:

What is with all the brackets?

Yeah, I know knitting patterns arent supposed to look like math textbooks, right? But bear with me here for a minute. If you havent started a pair of these gloves, this probably looks super threatening & you cant imagine how such ugliness could ever be helpful. Heres the dealio, though: when you reach that part of the pattern, you have your 25 stitches split very strategically across 4 double-pointed needles. The brackets help you see what is happening on each of the 4 needles theyre just a way to visually break up the round into bite-size chunks!

Split very strategically? Want to elaborate a little there?

In my Holly Holiday voice: I thought youd never ask! While the gunk inside the brackets looks like word soup at first glance, there really is a pattern from round to round. Take a look at the left glove, for example.

  • The first & last brackets correspond to the stitches on your first & last dpns. They start off with only 2 stitches each, but increase every other round until they hold 5 stitches each. Then, they sit tight & get knit until its time to turn those stitches into the thumb of your glove.
  • The second bracket is where your owl will take shape. The written-out directions are hard to visualize, but the chart below might help you see whats really going on under all that purling & cabling.



  • The third bracket is plain-Jane knit stitches, every single round! This chunk of stitches will become the palm of your glove.
  • Then, to make your right glove, its the same process, just with the 2nd & 3rd brackets switched!

Why the floopy yarn-overs at the end of the glove?

This is a purely stylistic choice that you are, of course, welcome to modify or leave out altogether. From round 37 onward, youre creating some raised eyelets for the top edge of your gloves. They are there for two reasons: first, to combat the rolling tendency of plain old stockinette stitch, and second, to look classy as hell. Who wants ribbing at the top of fingerless gloves, right?

Finishing:

Weave in ends & trim. Sew buttons into place as the owls eyes the little square of purled stitches marks where they belong. Now slip them on & never choose between cute & smart again!

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