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1  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Inspiration? on: June 24, 2007 01:47:42 PM
What inspires you guys? What inspires you to knit? What makes you want to finish a project?

If you design your own knitting projects, where do you draw your inspiration from? What would you say your style is, if you have one? What do you think is missing from the knitting world that you love thoroughly?

Just curious.
2  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Dense Stitch Patterns? on: June 20, 2007 01:38:35 PM
I don't know how else to phrase it. I'm looking to knit a bag where the likelihood of things slipping through the stitches is minimal.

I'm lazy, so I don't want to have to line it (if at all possible), and I really dislike felting things.

What is the densest, most solid stitch pattern you guys can think of? I'm thinking I might knit the yarn on needles smaller than recommended for it, so that might help. But a solid stitch pattern would be a great find, too.

Any recommendations? Thanks!
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / 2 questions - Sock Yarn and Cat Safe Stuffing? on: June 12, 2007 12:19:29 PM
I've got a few short, but sweet questions that I should know the answers to, but really don't, and can't seem to find the answers to via a craftster search.

Question One:
Sock yarn is expensive. Inexpensive sock yarn seems to disappear from all chain stores (AC Moore, JoAnn's, Michaels, WalMart) in the summer time. Sure, I could always use baby weight yarn for my socks, but I'm not sure I want to look like a giant, pastel wonderland.

So, is Red Heart Sport okay to use for socks? I love acrylic, I do darn near everything in acrylic (even though I don't have to...) I'm just wary about using 100% acrylic yarn for socks. What are the disadvantages of using 100% acrylic yarn for socks? Do your feet sweat an  unbearable amount? Is there a way around the sweaty foot issue (like perhaps working a lace pattern into the sock for ventilation?)

Question Two:
I'm making a bunch of cat toys for my husband's family, myself, and my family. There are about 5 cats to make gifts for. I know polyester fiberfill is cheap, but I'm not easily able to get to a wal-mart or other store that sells it (I'm about 20 miles away from the nearest one, with no transportation available!)

I'm looking for ideas for alternative stuffings that are cat safe. I don't think beans or beads or any thing that can potentially be a swallowing hazard if the cat tears it up would be a good idea.

Would ripping up plastic grocery bags and stuffing with those be okay? Is there a risk of suffocation with those?

Dryer lint seems like a good idea, but it takes a while to get a good amount of it.

Any suggestions on either of these questions would be awesome!

Thanks in advance!
4  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Which sense do you use most while knitting? on: June 11, 2007 11:56:48 AM
Just a question for all the craftsters....

When you're knitting, do you primarily knit by sight, feel, or a combination of both?

It makes me curious because I was just on a verrrrrry long (16 hour) bus ride, and none of the overhead lights on the bus worked. My music player was out of batteries, so I couldn't listen to music. The lights didn't work, so I couldn't read. I was hasty to begin knitting in the dark, but I was pretty sure I could do it by feel.

My results, while they could be deemed successful, were not exactly quality. I've determined that I cannot knit well without being able to see what I'm doing.

But at the same time, I also know a lot of people can knit by feeling the needles and the yarn only, and never have to look at their work.

So, which sense do you guys use more - sight, or feeling? Or are you one of the lucky folks who can do either?
5  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Question about the Spring Issue of Knit.1: "Bird Blanket" on: June 10, 2007 12:28:00 AM
I'm totally eager to try the pattern for the Bird Blanket from this spring's Knit.1 magazine. It's the "Green" issue, with the woman in the very light yellow-green cotton knit halter top on the front.

The bird blanket is one of the very last projects, and it tickles my fancy. However, I'm having trouble understanding the finishing instructions, regarding what to do with the short side borders for the blanket. The instructions aren't quite clear.

I'd love to post the instructions so someone could help me decipher, but I'm kind of wary as I don't know if that violates the ALMIGHTY LAW OF COPYRIGHT!

So, if anyone who has this issue or has glanced at this pattern or can look at this pattern can give me a heads up on what exactly is meant by the finishing instructions for that specific thing....I would love you forever.

Thanks in advance!
6  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Toxicodendron - My straight needle holder on: June 09, 2007 11:29:55 PM
The Front.

The Back

What the Heck Is It and How do I use it?
It's a straight needle holder - It's got pockets for additional support on the bottom, but the needles are mostly intended to be slid through a slice of the knitted fabric - much like using a safety pin. The pockets support the base of the needles (sometimes unsuccessfully).

This project is NOT felted or fulled.

The Bare Basics:
Needles: US Size 6, fourteen inch straight needles. Susan Bates.
Hook: US Size E. Boye Balene II.
Yarns: Lion Brand Wool-Ease and a mystery yarn from the thrift store. Wool-Ease Worsted being 80% acrylic and 20% wool content.

As usual, I have the pattern available should anyone want to make this. I can post it here, if there are requests, or send it individually. Just ask if you'd like it.

The Short Story Long:
Born out of boredom, a need to store my wildly out of hand needle collection, and a hatred for my dendrology class, this needle holder is quite possibly the happiest creation of my life.

Named and inspired by one of the world's least favorite plants, Poison Ivy, it has no ill effects. I swear. I've tried it myself.

It's a pattern of my own devising, worked mostly out of a simple half-twisted stockinette base (I tend to only twist my knit stitches - I can never commit to anything wholeheartedly!) that's about 15.5 inches wide.

The decorative bands are interspersed about every three inches, give or take. The stitch is a modified version of what I saw deemed a "Pillar Stitch". It's supposed to make very firm fabric, which is what I wanted, but I realized it just had too many holes for needles to slip through.

 It's about 14.5 inches high - barely large enough to hold my 14 inch long straights. If I were to make another one or revise my pattern notes, I'd compensate for that and work in an extra inch or so.

There is a garter stitch border on three sides - the top and both longer sides.

It was knit from one skein (exactly, no extra left) of grey Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted. The green yarn which forms the pocket fabric and detail stitching, as well as the binding on the edges, is a mystery yarn that was gotten thrifting. It was in a bag marked 100% Unknown Fiber, but feels like a very soft animal fiber. I'm inclined to say it's an angora or cashmere, with possibly an acrylic mix.

The yarn isn't as shown in the pictures - the grey is a much more "bright" grey, being more white based than black based. The green is a darker green with hints of muted rainbow colors that shine only in light - the yarn reminds me of fish scales.

As I alluded to - there is a single crochet border (I can't seem to get past it in my designs, I just love it so darn much...) as well as detail stitching. The detail stitching, seen mostly only on the front of the case, is what forms the pockets on the backside.

I modeled (or tried to) this piece after Toxicodendron radicans, or, Poison Ivy in vine form. The big fuzzy grayish vines that grow on trees (Not to be confused with Parthenocissus quinquefolia - do you know how long it took me to learn to spell that? Virginia Creeper) is what I worked with for this project. I'm not sure if I succeeded in capturing the look or feel of the plant - you be the judge. I just know I like (mostly) how it looks.

7  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Peaches or Sugar? Both with Cream. Which is which? on: June 04, 2007 06:14:48 PM
I'm just as confused as ever.

There are two 100% cotton yarns with very similar names. I've bought both before. I can't really tell the difference...but sometimes I miss the obvious.

Could one of the enlightened folk tell me the difference between

Peaches & Creme Cotton Yarn


Sugar'N Cream Cotton Yarn?

8  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Hooded Tank Tops - the bane of my existence! on: June 03, 2007 01:50:55 PM
I finally, finally get to post a finished project here on craftster. This is cause to celebrate, since I rarely every finish a project. I'm either too lazy in seaming it, or something goes wrong, or I just lose interest.

So last Sunday I sat down, and had a long talk with myself. I told myself I was going to start a project - a project for ME. One that I could use, and one that would be mine when it was finished. I don't often craft for myself, either.

I didn't have a pattern in mind, or anything when I started. I just knew I wanted to make something black and blue. I knew I wanted to play around with making some bi-color ribbing, and a bi-color seed stitch. It just kind of snowballed from there.

I ended up with this:

I named it after one of my favorite novel characters - it's now being called the "Miss Danvers Sweater". (Claire Danvers is a character from Rachel Caine's "Morganville Vampire" series)

It's got bicolor ribbing at the bottom, with a few discreet rows of bicolor seed stitch above that, before sliding into a solid color stockinette stitch.

There's some subtle waist shaping formed by one of my favorite increases (the M1 stitch - it sounds so official!)

Here's a close up of the graphic detail on the front (Pardon my face in the shot....my husband was taking the photo using my parents' camera. I don't think they would have appreciated just a photo of my chest!):

The graphic is a fair isle design that I'd charted on paper. It was supposed to be just a simple checkerboard design. One square blue, one black. But everyone who has seen it thus far thinks it looks like trees or vines. So I'll go with that. It's got vines on the front.

To mimic the design on the front, I decided it would only be fitting to have a sort of flowery/vine-ish design on the back of the hood:

This was made with a few simple "yarn over" increases near the center. I just staggered them a little bit, and alternated between 2 y/o's and 4 y/o's.

There's a black crochet edging around the armholes, the neckband and the hood.

This piece was knit with icky Red Heart Super Saver in Royal (about 2 skeins were used) - it wasn't my first choice of yarns, but considering I'm doing a lot of travel (both by bus and horseback - the first to get to and from college, the second to fulfill my college major!), It's going to get a lot of wear and tear. It's going to come home everyday smelling like horse-poo, so it's going to be washed a lot. Red Heart will stand up to a beating like that.

The black yarn was gotten at a thrift store. Someone had dropped off a bag of the 1 lb Mill Ends, probably gotten at Ac Moore. The bag says "100% unknown fiber", but I'm 100% certain it's cotton.

It was knit on size 7 circular needles given to me by my grandmother a long time ago. Metal tips, and a plastic cord in the middle. I hate circular needles.

I did take notes and am formulating a pattern if anyone would like to make one for themselves, or alter it to suit their needs.
9  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Discussion and Questions / Being a girl is fun...except for the pantyhose. on: May 25, 2007 09:44:53 AM
I've got a bit of an issue, perhaps someone (anyone!) can help me with. I'm short and cuddly. 5'3", and 210 lbs. I tend to lean towards more of the "goth" style of clothing, and occasionally bring myself to go out to the clubs and dance.

Usually when I go to a club, it's about the only time I wear a skirt. But I have issues with skirts. Big, ugly, angry issues with skirts. My thighs aren't exactly the most...er...muscular in the world, and I have a little bit of flabby, loose sort of skin on the insides where I've lost some weight. Toning the muscles does nothing for it - I've tried. It's just sort of a loose skin that's there to stay.

When I wear a skirt, these bits (for lack of better term?) rub together and chafe in some of the most painful ways possible - resulting in welts and sometimes bleeding.

I've tried stockings - they make the welt/bleeding issue worse. Pantyhose are a little bit better - when they fit. But they rarely ever fit "right". The Fundeez/Flezees glorified  bike shorts things work okay - until about five seconds of movement jar them out of place and they start riding up to the point where they do no good anyway.

Do I forgoe skirts altogether? Do I try more pantyhose and eventually (after much pain) hope I find a pair that fits?

Is there anything I can make that might solve this issue? I was thinking bloomer-type things, maybe a lycra-cotton blend with some decorative lace on the ends - but I don't know where I'd look for a pattern I could use.

Suggestions, comments, and anything you can add would be wonderful. Thanks!
10  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Crafting for Potential Future Events? on: May 10, 2007 10:56:59 PM
Perhaps this is a bit off topic...I hope not, because I think it's pretty relevant...I'm just curious to see if anyone else has encountered this.

Back in the day it was custom for a girl to have a "hope chest"...I've seen a few threads on craftster about it, so I know it isn't totally an outdated concept. Basically, a chest full of items for a girl to store away until she's married.

Well, I got married pretty early...It wasn't planned very much, and it wasn't a big elaborate thing. Basically, no one was expecting it, not even me. But I'm very happy. I just didn't get a lot of time to prepare...I sewed my own wedding dress a week before the event (by hand, mind you. There were no sewing machines to be had in the dorms...)

I've had this uncanny urge to start crafting baby items. They're easy to make, take very little time and materials...and let's face it....most of them are super frikken cute! They seem like great summer projects because you don't have a bunch of super heavy materials to work with and they aren't gigantic....No yards of heavily knitted yarn laying in your lap on a day that's surpassing the 100 degree weather mark....no giant tote to drag around on trips to the beach, or park, or wherever.

I worry, though, that I will be looked at like a nut if I start crafting for a child I don't have and may never have. Is this an uncommon thing to do? Or is it practical from a standpoint? (Basically, I'm looking to justify this and make myself feel less odd by seeking out others who think its a good idea or have done it before.)

Hubby seems to like the idea....it would save on future purchases and time, that's for sure. 9 months might seem like a long while, but to knit and sew up an entire wardrobe and accessories? Not nearly long enough!

I also seem a bit disappointed in myself....Is this just a by-product of "Spring Fever"? Seeing everyone in nature with their young and that good old biological urge to reproduce?
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