Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween is Oishii This Year

Last year's Halloween included a store-bought peapod costume for Ms. Punkin Q. Pie -- because, really, too tired.  But as various superadorable costume ideas got circulated on Facebook and Twitter (my social networks of choice), I was inspired to try my hand at knitting something cool.

Sushi gets lots of love and noms at my house, so I was excited when this onesie costume was featured on the Martha Stewart show.  It would be perfect for a kid in a warmer climate, but even the mild Mid-Atlantic states get chilly in October, so we needed something warmer, or at least more adaptable.  These drawstring bag nigiri costumes on Etsy were closer to spec and I loved the idea of the condiment headband!

Ravelry has a lot of interesting sushi-inspired patterns; none of these were costumes, however, so I got to work digging through the stash, searching for existing patterns to adapt, guessing my daughter's size while she slept, and doing math.  A mess of Lion Brand Homespun fit the bill: the right availability (as in, already in my house), the right amount (gobs of it), the right colors (lucked out totally).

I've based the apple green wasabi dollop on a free Coats & Clark Knit Rolled Rose pattern; it's a funky nautilus shape because I couldn't surmise the correct way to roll it.  The ginger strip I invented on the spot using the closest color match I could find, which turned out to be 104 Blush Heather from the non-stash/stash-adjacent Wool-Ease collection.  The black nori headband took a couple tries to figure out, as the first incarnation fit me perfectly (!).  All "pattern" specifics can be found on the Ravelry project page here.

The costume is a tamago nigiri (sweet egg omelet on top of rice) by necessity.  If I had had Homespun in Tumbleweed or Spice (for tuna) or in Saffron and Deco (salmon), I could have easily done something fishy.  But "Sunshine State" was within arm's reach, so hurray for eggs! Tight gauge garter stitch looks omelette-y, right?  The same black was used for the nori belt, knit the evening before its debut; given more time, I might have changed the belt design, but at this point, whatev.  Details are on the Ravelry project page here.

My original intention was to copy the brilliant drawstring idea and I totally had a bag that would work!-- except it was much too short, like a full year's growth too short. SO I cut the side seams, basted them down, and cut a hole in the bag bottom for the costume top.  It kinda works like a cloth sandwich board, good for layering over street clothes for indoor wear and over a coat for trick-or-treating.  I wish I had taken the weight of the stuffed-with-more-yarn tamago into account, though; there is a lot of drag in front and it makes it difficult for her to walk around without it sloooowly inching its way floor-ward.  What I'm saying is, smart people will come up with some sort of counterbalance in back, because the belt doesn't do much in that way.  :)

And I'm in costume at work today, as "Rosie the Riveter or Some Kinda Farmer."  Happy Halloween, everyone!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

FO: Jelly Bean Sweater

More cool weather clothes for a cool little girl...
This is the Maxi Top/Dress [Rav link] designed by Elena Nodel; the pattern is free and it's top-down and in-the-round -- what a relief not to seam!  There are several sizing options and a couple different hem options.  I chose to leave the sweater short-sleeved for layering and whatnot, but one could easily lengthen the sleeves if desired.

This was knit with leftovers from my gigantic stash of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Squirrel Heather (previously seen in my Watch Her Soar blanket + other) and half a skein of Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in 9860 Jelly Bean.  I featured the Jelly Bean Paints in my documented attempt to create a nice centerpull ball with no swift or winder.  Now that I've finally knit off said ball, I can personally attest to the unmitigated failure of my laziness.  So many tangles, so much yarn barf.  Oh well.

Universal Craft Blog Directory

CraftyRie has taken it upon herself to host a hugormous list of crafty blog people and you can participate! Just go to her blog via the link below, add your blog to the list, invite your blog readers to do the same, ta da!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

KATM by Request: Star Trek (2009)

Dearest darlingest Megan at In the Attic: A V.C. Andrews Blog suggested the Star Trek reboot for a KATM on the BKT Facebook page.  At first I was all what now?, but then it was like yeah, ok.

Spock's Sweater
You can tell he's half human by the sassy bateau-necked pullover.
It's a 1x1 rib in super bulky weight; the variation in color looks metallic.  This concise assessment is now finished, as is only logical.

Scotty's Scarf and Hat
I was all set to stop watching after the sweater reveal, but, you know, I was knitting and it was running and whatever, right?  Then this happened:
And it made me happy.  A slouchy stocking cap (reverse-engineered for free! by designer/fan Nicole Lorenz [Rav]) and what appears to be Jared Flood's Noro Striped Scarf [Rav link] on Simon Pegg? Awesome!

Speaking of happy:
You get it, like he's looking at... himself... well I thought it was funny.

p.s. if you want to know what my husband looked like at age 17:
Oh, Chekov.  I'm way too old for you.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Knitwear at the Movies: Finding Neverland

My move from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic happened in 2004, so I was busy, shall we say, when Finding Neverland first came out.  The movie has been on my must-see list for several reasons: I have a huge interest in British literature AND children's literature (both lit for kids and lit by kids, actually); Peter Pan, of course, has been interpreted many ways and I was excited to see the play in its original form; I'm a sucker for based-on-a-true stories; and then, there's this...
image courtesy of WireImage via IMDB

Burgundy Boy Bonnets
One of these things is not like the other...
No hat, Peter?  What a shame. Let's look at the two hat styles more closely.


The more I look at these berets (tams? berets? tams.), the more I'm convinced that they are felted.  I know some of you are facepalming while yelling "Obviously!", but my knitwear whispering skills are in their infancy; I beg your indulgence and thank you for your patience.

And Michael (Luke Spill) has got this really cute garter stitch beanie thing with an asymmetrically-folded brim.  IMHO, I prefer this to the tam, actually: seems a lot more versatile and, oddly enough, less juvenile.

They're so adorable, but the patterns aren't exactly out there:
you can see the tam top in this one
Kinda Remindy tam patterns:
When working this project, the center of the tam top is a solid color, surrounded by very thin stripes alternating between that color and a lighter variation.
crochet!  Pinwheel Beret [Rav link] by Cynthia Preston; available via the Winter 2008 Interweave Crochet magazine
free knit! The Perfect Beret [Rav link] by Janelle Masters; also available in French
felted knit!  Felted Beret [Rav link] by Bev Galeskas; published in Felted Knits

Kinda Remindy beanie pattern:
I only found one pattern that looked remotely similar to the hat in the movie.  It's an adult-sized knit "moebius hat" called Quincy [Rav link], designed by the incomparable Jared Flood.  It's available as a $4.75 USD PDF download from Flood's website Brooklyn Tweed and in the published collection Made in Brooklyn from Classic Elite Yarns.

The movie made me cry and the knits made me smile.  It was an enjoyable evening.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

FO: Lattice Shrug

Sometimes when it's nice out and there's the looming possibility that snow could fall tomorrow, you need to take a walk.  I was lucky enough to take one with a stylish baby.
The pattern is Lacy Little Shrug [Rav link] by Eileen Casey.  The stitch pattern itself is easy enough to memorize, but there are errors.  We're not talking I prefer my decreases to be mirrored errors, I'm talking increase up to 27 stitches even though the Star Mesh Rib stitch pattern needs a stitch count of 4+1 to work out evenly errors.  It's a free pattern, though, so I'm not going to grumble about it too much. 

If my years of knitting have taught me nothing else, they've taught me to read my work.  The very instant I spot an inconsistency, I freeze and figure it out.  That didn't used to happen. 

This used a third of a skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in 138 Cranberry.  There is a... collection of Wool-Ease that hangs out near the rest of my stash.  But it is not stash.  It remains stash-adjacent for a very practical reason: I've used some of it -- not all of it -- how much is left? -- I dunno!  If I can't count it, it doesn't count.

It's neither as soft, nor as fancy as her Little Lace bit o' fluff, but I learned from my mistakes and did not seam the armholes as tightly.  Punkin will not be tamed, not by me, not by any piece of clothing!

I am among the millions of Americans who wear purple on Spirit Day to show support for LGBT youth and to speak out against bullying. 
Go purple: learn more at

Monday, October 17, 2011

Better Than Cake

...and you know I love my cake.  Lookit what came in the mail!!!!!:

If you have found me on Facebook, you already know this -- and you already know about my specialized Yarn Fast -- NO YARN BUYING UNTIL 2012.  But I totally didn't buy this yarn so I get to keep it neener neener neener take that, universe!  (Note to self: stop taunting universe.)

Anyway, this lovely stuff was a birthday gift; did you know Barnes & Noble sells yarn in their online store?  THEY TOTALLY DO.  Buried deep under a million clicks in a horribly unsearchable site, it's there, nestled between the DVD boxed sets and mystery audiobooks.  (There will be books as well, I just haven't gotten them yet.)

It's not Wollmeise or anything, but there's a variety of reasonably-priced big box store fiber -- Bernat, Patons, Red Heart, etc.  I now have three skeins of Lion Brand Sock-Ease in purty coordinating colors.  And I think I know what I'm going to do with it, but first I'm just going to stare at it with a goofy smile, like I've never seen yarn before.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Knitwear at the Movies: Amélie

Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, AKA Amélie, is one of my favorite movies.  Ever.  Everevereverever.  Like permanent Top 5.  Never gets old.  Always a treat.   Makes me happy.  Love.  <3

When I watch a foreign language movie without subtitles, by the end, I truly believe I understood everything perfectly.  In reality, I know just enough French to get in some serious trouble.  I was going to illustrate this by "translating" everything into French. After some time away from the movie's hypnotic powers, I was going to use Google Translate and tweak it to make everything correct.

Now the plan is to tell you the plan and skip the French.  So the French is skipped.  And somewhere in my hometown, my high school French teacher is quietly weeping.  Je suis désolée, Madame L.  :(  I can still pronounce everything perfectly!  Stylo Rouge dance for that?

Bonus traveling gnome pattern at the end of this post!

The Sweater Kid
I want to make all of these sweaters for my daughter tout de suite.   Vite!
This is the same sweater as in the first picture.  I love it x 3.

Les Châles de Georgette
The shawls worn by Georgette (Isabelle Nanty) signal her mood, seemingly without the character knowing it.

"Oh, I feel so sick all the time, I don't know what's wrong with me!"
"Oh, je suis si malade toujours, je vais cracher une plèvre!"
Readers will note the gray circles under the eyes, the downturned mouth, the shawl tied tightly around the neck and shoulders...
back detail of brown shawl -- ooh, ah!

"I'm in love!  Life is wonderful!  Sunshine!  Puppies!"
"Je suis amoureuse! La vie est belle!  Il fait du soleil!"
Here we see Georgette using the shawl purely as decoration to lure the beta male of the species.

"The guy I liked is an idiot; why are the losers always drawn to me?"
"L'homme que j'aimais est un imbécile, pourquoi dois-je attirer les idiots?"

Hey wait?  Was that knitting?
Take that and rewind it back!

And she crochets, too!

French Men Do Wear Knits

Amélie has Pretty Sweaters
This is plain, but it's one of the bulkier sweaters she wears.  Also, not red or green!

This tweed cardijacket is gorgeous, and the scenery's not bad, either.

If I lived alone, I totally wouldn't set a place at the dinner table and all that.  Heck, I don't do that now.

I'm kind of in love with this stitch pattern; it's very simple but still interesting.  And the haircut, of course.

Zed was here.

BONUS: wanna knit the Traveling Gnome?
free! Travelling Gnome [Rav link] by Raynor Gellatly

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Knitwear at the Movies: Babette's Feast

This is my favorite Danish movie where characters also speak in Swedish and French.  Let me know if you know a better one.
The town gossips are silently judging you.

Martine and Filippa, the Sisters
The town beauties, the minister's daughters Martine (Birgitte Federspiel/Vibeke Hastrup) and Filippa (Bodil Kjer/Hanne Stensgaard), have pretty smiles and pretty knits.
image via
Most of their really cool shawls are knit and worn later in life.
  1. Martine's fuzzy garter stitch
  2. Filippa's fringed macrame (AKA Filippa's Favorite)
  3. Martine's brown diamond
  4. Filippa's black mesh
  5. Martine's lavender eyelet
  6. Filippa's cream gull pattern

Kinda Remindy:
free Ridged Triangular Shawl [Rav link] by Leslie Weber
free!  textured shawl recipe [Rav link] by orlane
free!  sagittaria [Rav link] by Leslie Gonzalez
free!  Simply Hilary [Rav link] by Tracey Withanee
Winged Shawl [Rav link] by Sarah Fama; $5.50 USD
Marilla's Very Practical Shawl [Rav link] by Rachel Henry; $1.99 USD

Danish Tie Shawl
This movie introduced me to the Danish tie shawl AKA the most practical shawl construction I've ever seen.
I love this so much and this is totally going to be me at 70.

Designer Mette Rørbech painstakingly recreated a kællingesjal (I'm going to guess from the context that it means "tie shawl" -- do NOT plug it into Google Translate!) dating from 1897, which totally works for us because that's when the movie is set.  The original is in the Vendsyssel Museum and this pattern is a free Rav download in both English and Danish!

Kay Meadors's free Kay's Tess D’Urbervilles Shawl [Rav link] looks almost exactly like the ones in "Babette's Feast" -- which makes sense, since the pattern is based off a mini-series set during the same time period.  Kay calls this shawl style a sontag: new vocab alert!

Other tie shawl patterns from teh intarwebs:
free!  Dane Shawl [Rav link] by Jane Tanner
free!  Ozark Handspun Danish Shawl [Rav link] by Pat Hebert
Traditional Danish Tie Shawl STR11 [Rav link] by Dorothea Fischer;
    also in Danish! German! Dutch!  €8.75 EUR

KOFing (Knitting on Film)
Hi, Babette! You don't wear shawls because you're French!
and there's opera, too!  This movie has everythang.

Women Wear Knits
Yeah, this is crocheted.  I'm dealing with it and you should, too.

Men Wear Knits
The Film's First Knit:
Is it a hat? Socks all folded up together?  We see the gift recipient, a shut-in, later in the film with something gray around his shoulders, but it looks to be something else:

And there are these guys, too.
Finished.  Hallelujah.