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21  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: Crayon melting - First ever in-progress shots (pic chubby-bunny) on: August 23, 2011 07:12:48 AM
Neato neato frito! I was wondering if I could get away with a hair dryer instead of a heat gun... Thanks for sharing!
22  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Latest little project - Cid Highwind on: August 06, 2011 07:41:30 AM
Holy. Poop. Now, I've taken on some ridiculous projects in the name of gaming, but this has got to take the cake! Plus, couldn't have picked a better game. Mr. Sunshineravioli doesn't understand the shining glory that is FFVII... thank the fiber heavens for fellow gamer/crafters Cheesy
23  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Gone Fishin' for the Dead Fish Hat! + Short Rows Tute (Image Heavy) on: August 06, 2011 07:37:57 AM
Aw, thanks for the love, dudes! This whole project was so fun to make but has been equally discouraging at the end. I work in a yarn shop & brought this out as a sample, but most of my customers don't seem to dig wacky stuff the way Craftsters do. You guys make my day  Kiss

What an awesome hat! I just love the colors you used! It's so cute.  Cheesy

Thanks times two! For posterity's sake, I used Cascade Pacific in #27 (Periwinkle), #40 (Peacock), and #22 (Marigold).
24  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Gone Fishin' for the Dead Fish Hat! + Short Rows Tute (Image Heavy) on: August 05, 2011 04:15:45 PM
What do you get when you cross a lakeside community, bright sunshine yellow & ocean green yarn, and a Calvin & Hobbes-style sense of silliness? Why, the Dead Fish Hat, of course!

The moment I saw Thelma Egberts' rather unexpected creation on Ravelry (available for free on Thelma's Dead Fish Hat site & through Knitty magazine), I immediately knew I had to make one. It seems like just the thing to commemorate a joyful summer by the lake (and to make my knitting cohorts cackle with delight).

Perhaps my favorite design element of this truly original hat is the curvy fish lips. The shape somehow manages to evoke the distinctive shape of an actual fish's mouth while still maintaining the cartoonish charm of the hat as a whole. To achieve this effect, Thelma's pattern employs two important elements: stockinette stitch to encourage the edge to roll, and short rows to lengthen the top & bottom of the mouth area (that's what makes the lips curve like a rainbow). I suspect the stockinette element isn't going to blow anyone's mind, but those darn short rows have a reputation for being cumbersome. But fear not, dear crafters; whether you're new to short rows or a seasoned veteran, this hat is well within your grasp!

Short rows are often classed with ordinary increases like make 1 or knit front & back, but I think that it's a mistake to store the idea of a short row in the same mental category as these techniques. Where a regular increase selectively widens your work (turning a row of 12 stitches into a row of 13 stitches, for example), short rows selectively lengthen it.

If you can keep this in mind conceptually, short rows start to feel like exactly what they are: just another way to play with the shape of your knitted work. That said, if this is your first try at short rows or you simply don't feel inclined to think about the "big picture" today, you can really just step through the Dead Fish Hat line by line & do just great.

Take a look at the "Shape Mouth" section of the pattern, and I'll show you what I mean. You've just finished several rounds of stockinette to form the lip, and now it's time to work your first short row. To work row 1, just keep on knitting for 27 stitches like nothing's happened at all, as if you're working another ordinary round. Once you knit that 27th stitch, though, you're going to turn your work over as if it were flat (like a scarf or a dishcloth), and purl back in the direction you came from. Do you see why they're called short rows? They're just like regular rows of knitting, except that they don't extend across the entire width of your work.

To prevent unattractive little holes in your work, the pattern says to W&T at the end of each row, which stands for "Wrap & Turn." This is possibly the only truly new move that short rows will demand of you, but in the immortal words of Douglas Adams, don't panic! Once you've done all the knitting or purling the row calls for, slip one additional stitch from the left needle to the right.

Bring the working yarn around the stitch (if it started in the back, bring it to the front, or vice versa), and then put that slipped stitch back where you found it. See what you did? There's now a cute little yarn lasso connecting your short row to the rest of your knitting! How slick are you?

Very slick indeed.

Now just keep on working, stepping through the rows one by one. On your first pass at rows 1-16, you're making one lip on one side of the fish. Then, row 17 brings you to the other side of the fish, and you repeat rows 2-16 to build the second lip on the other side. Here's a row-by-row chart of what you're doing, starting with the red row at the bottom & working upward in order of rainbow colors:

However, you'll notice that as your work progresses, those nice straight rows of stockinette you started with (the curly lip part) will actually begin to curve to meet the edges of your short rows! Shape-wise, it'll look more like this:

Basically a birds-eye-view of Madonna, circa 1989

Nifty, eh? In fact, if you were to change colors on every row (which I emphatically discourage-- So. Many. Tails...), you'd see something pretty darn similar to the grid above. Remember that the bottom red edge represents a formerly straight row of stockinette stitches from the beginning of the pattern. See how they curve?

A note to those already familiar with short rows, or to those who plan to apply this method in other circumstances: this pattern is unique in that you don't have to do anything special to work the wraps. Very unique, as a matter of fact. That's usually the part that knitters dread the most, but on the Fish Hat, it's quite unnecessary (hooray!). Normally, when you knit across one of those stitches you lassoed previously, you must take special measures to push the wrap to the back of your work. It's a nice way to keep your work connected without that telltale bar across your stitches. But since the Fishy has such cute curly lips, you'll find that all your immaculately-worked wraps never even see the light of day, so my vote is to not stress about it!

Well, folks, there you have it-- a quick introduction to the ever-so-clever use of short rows! Once you've worked the mouth of this hat, you're ready to plug short rows into all kinds of other pieces-- in fact, the great Elizabeth Zimmermann swears by a few of them at the back of a sweater neckline to prevent the bottom from riding up. You're also through the toughest part of your Fishy, too, so double congratulations! If your sense of accomplishment makes you feel ambitious, scoot on over to Thelma's Dead Fish Hat site & look at all the cool things you can do with color in this pattern!

Until next time, blub blub blub (that's fish-speak for "Happy knitting!")!
25  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Cristaria lace shrug-- Free tutorial & pattern! on: July 21, 2011 08:02:33 AM
Now whenever I think of subduction zones, I'll think of Pacman.  Cheesy

Yep... if you listen very closely at coastal mountain ranges, you'll hear a very faint "Wakka wakka wakka wakka..." Wink

P.S. You look gorgeous in the shrug! Grin

You are so sweet, thank you! Mr. sunshineravioli is a photographer & graphic designer, so credit to him for making my goofy faces look respectable Smiley
26  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Cristaria lace shrug-- Free tutorial & pattern! on: July 18, 2011 06:22:18 PM
Also, I loved the stich markers explanation, expecially about the mathematical modelling. Speaking of - did you know that crochet is the only physical way to replicate hyperbolic space? Oooh yeaah Wink If you're interested (and I bet you are!) there is an article about it here: http://theiff.org/lectures/05a.html

Yay for mathy crafting!!

Yay indeed! Can you tell my math/science nerd impulses have been a little pent up lately?

Thanks for the hyperbolic crochet link-- it is seriously my dream to teach a class examining the math underlying fiber crafts (and, of course, the unique ways that fiber crafts can help us visualize mathematical abstracts!). Really glad you enjoyed!
27  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Cristaria lace shrug-- Free tutorial & pattern! on: July 18, 2011 05:19:37 PM
Named for a pearl mussel that produces freshwater pearls, the Cristaria shrug is a quick, pretty knit shrug that complements formal summer ensembles or casual looks alike. Add beads or pearls for a piece that is truly your own!


  • 100 g Cascade Ultra Pima or similar
  • US 10 circular needles, 20˝ or longer
  • About 25 freshwater pearls (optional)
  • About 25 head pins (optional)

Stitch abbreviations:

  • yo yarn over
  • k2tog knit 2 stitches together

Directions & Hints:

Cast on 108 stitches, leaving at least a 12˝ tail. This will seem longer than it needs to be, but dont fret! Take a look at the picture to the right. Imagine taking your straight cast-on edge & bending it into the wavy bottom edge of the shrug. Thats why your finished piece wont be anywhere near as wide as it seems now.

  • Row 1: knit across
  • Row 2: purl across

Here comes the exciting part: the lace row. This sequence of increases & decreases is what turns a fairly ordinary stitch pattern into something visually interesting (and, in this case, wavy!). During each repeat, you are going to decrease a total of 6 times (the k2tog stitches) and increase a total of 6 times (the yarn overs). So, even though youre subtracting stitches in some places & adding them in others, your total stitch count at the end of each row should always be the same (108, to be precise).

  • Row 3: k2tog 3 times, *k1, yo* 6 times, k2tog 3 times. Place stitch marker. Repeat across row 5 more times.

Phew! Take a step back & congratulate yourself you just finished the tricky part & I bet it looks like a rats nest, doesnt it? Just remember: youre taking a wavy row & straightening it out onto your needle, so it really should look a bit confused.

  • Row 4: knit across

And thats really all there is to it! Youll repeat those 4 rows about 14 more times, depending on how big around youd like your armholes. To finish, bind off & break yarn, leaving at least a 12˝ tail.

Diving in Deeper:

The lace row sure does have a lot of counting wouldnt it be a lot easier to use more markers?

A tempting proposition, no? Normally, I prefer to use markers like big red flags to remind me when its time to change stitches. In this pattern, though, the markers are smack dab in the middle of a bunch of k2togs! There is method to my madness (well, this time, at least). This is an atypical lace pattern in that the increases are all bundled together & the decreases are all bundled together. A more regular (rectangular) pattern usually peppers them across the row in pairs. Because of this, if you plunk down markers willy-nilly, they will actually migrate across the row & mess you up! So, the short answer is that markers are only useful to a point on this pattern. Think of them more as error correction tools if you end up with anything other than 18 stitches between markers, you know something has gone wrong in that section.

The short answer? That didnt seem very short at all. Out of morbid curiosity, what was the long answer?

Plate tectonics!

Excuse me?

No, really! The stitch markers show you the center of a double-sided stitch subduction zone basically a stitch gobbler. Its like the stitch markers are hovering over very aggressive black holes that pull stitches in & make them disappear. Conversely, in the middle of each increase section (right after the 3rd yarn over, to be precise) is a mid-ocean ridge of stitches a place where new stitches bubble up to the surface & spread out. If you placed a stitch marker at each of these spots,  you could imagine them hovering over tiny stitch factories, creating new stitches & pumping them outward. The whole row would look something like this:

Which, to me, looks a whole lot like this:

Wow, this is really getting out of hand. Anything else youve been dying to get off your chest?

Well, since you asked The idea for how & where to use stitch markers (as a way to catch & isolate mistakes instead of to tell you when to change stitches) came from the mathematical basis for error-correcting code. Also, the function y(x) = 2.5 cos (2π x/13), with x & y in centimeters, describes each row of this pattern. Whee!


String a single freshwater pearl onto each of about 25 head pins. Trim pin ends & bend into loops. Attach pins at the bottom of the soft U-shaped rows of the center 3 columns of stitches (see picture), or use whatever arrangement strikes your fancy.

Use reserved yarn tails to attach corners of finished piece to create armholes. Weave in ends & trim.

Now throw it over a sundress & go put Audrey Hepburn to shame.

Ready to turn your screen off & start knitting? Visit my shop's blog for printable PDF versions of this tutorial & even a bare-bones pattern if you're sick of my rambling! Smiley
28  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: knitted bag! on: July 18, 2011 04:59:36 PM
I couldn't find your images, sorry! Love to see it when you're able to upload, though Smiley
29  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Bearies! + pattern link on: July 10, 2011 04:15:23 PM
Ohhhhh my lordy these are amazing! I already pumped out a koala one for an Australian friend & can't wait (!) to try berry variations with Louisa Harding Jasmine. Classiest sparkle yarn *ever*

Thanks for the fabulous idea!
30  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: 2012 Special Olympics USA Scarf Project Craftalong on: July 01, 2011 07:37:56 PM
Such a cool idea! Anybody else wish they weren't so strict about requiring Red Heart, though? It's cool of them to sponsor & all, but acryyyyyliiiiiiic Sad
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