Sunday, January 27, 2008

Instant Warmification

NOTE: New photos added to the Fire Blanket post. Everyone loves it!

Cranking out a pile of charity knitting with the sock yarn scraps reminded me how fun the "small, quick project" thing is. Here's a different color (obs!) of the mohair used for the Fire Blanket, made up as a lacy cowl.

Down-Under Mohair Yarn by Little Barn. Used less than 100 yds – probably closer to 50.
Size 13 needles. Gauge: About 2 st/in in stockinette, but not essential.

Provisional cast on: 34 st

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit 3, place marker, purl to last three, place marker, K3

Section 1:
Row 3: K3, *yo, k2tog*, repeat til last 3, K3
Row 4: K3, purl to last 3, K3

Repeat last two rows 6 times. If you loose track, count the big holes left by the yo stitches. If there are 6 or fewer rows of holes, do it again.

Section 2:
Row 1: knit
Row 2: K3, purl to last 3, K3

Repeat rows 1&2.

Repeat Sections 1 & 2 until cowl measures about the same circumference as your head / face.
End with Section 2, then knit one more row.

Remove provisional yarn and slide live stitches onto another needle (or the other end if you’re using a long circular).
With purl side up, kitchener the first three stitches from each needle. Finish the sequence completely, as if they were the only six on the project.
Flip work so knit side is up. Kitchener to last pairs of three. Again, complete the sequence as if remaining stitiches didn’t exist.
Flip work over again, purl side up, and kitchener the last six.
This will give you a seamless join in the pattern. Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fire Blanket done!

Silly, I know, since it's just garter stitch, but it took me forever due to its bohemoth size and, well, me stopping to admire the color combos at each stitch.

Matt chose the mohair yarn. We now have the perfect movie blanket. It's superbly squishy and lofty and warm. All four fur kids are inordinately in love. I can't even keep Blackberry away!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Contest Winners!

I had many creative entries, via email, blog comments, and in a Ravelery thread. You created many lovely stitches, dear readers, but only one is really right.

The Tsock Tsarina figured it out first... I give thee the Tsarina Brioche:

Cast on an odd number of sts.

R1 (WS): * p1, yf sl1yo; rep from *, end p1

R2: * k1, yf sl1yo; rep from *, end k1 (when you slip the stitch you also slip the yo that goes with it, so that in the next row you have the stitch and BOTH yos to pick up with the brp.)

R3: p1, yo, * brp1, yf sl1yo; rep from *, end last rep p1 instead of yf sl1yo
R4: k1, * k1, brk1; rep from *, end last rep k1 instead of brk1

yf sl1yo (yarn forward, slip 1 purlwise, yarnover) = bring the working yarn under the needle to the front of the work, slip the next stitch purlwise, then bring the yarn over the needle (and over the slipped stitch) to the back in position to work the following stitch; this slipped stitch/ yarnover is considered 1 stitch.

brk (brioche knit - also known as a bark) = knit the stitch (that was slipped in the row before) together with its yarnover.

brp (brioche purl - also known as a burp) = purl the stitch (that was slipped in the row before) together with its yarn over

Unfortunately I am not the brilliant Yarn Jedi that the Tsarina is (This is a woman, after all, that designs leafy socks), and kept screwing up the swatch. It wasn't until Nephele posted her simplified version that I was able to actually knit the #%*^@ thing.

Over uneven number of stitches:
Row 1: Purl
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: *K1, Knit into stitch two rows down, repeat from * to last stitch, K1
Row 5: Purl
Row 6: K1, *k1, knit into stitch 1 row down, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2
Repeat rows 3 through 6 for pattern.

I'll be sending out my yarny gratitude to both. And now I have to make something with this... hmmm...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Windshield wipers, slappin' out a tempo...

Here you can see Shaun's original rain-clearing system. The interior pic shows the vent I mentioned yesterday. The third pic compares one old and one replacement motor: I got them at a boat store. Marine supply parts are designed to withstand vibration, temperature extremes, and moisture. In other words, they're perfect for a Land Rover! For other Landites: Each motor, arm, and blade was $79 as a set. Now I have modern blades, too - easily replaceable as they age.

The funny thing is how perfectly they fit. Matt had to drill the hole for the shaft, just to enlarge it a smidge, but otherwise they plopped right in.

He also hooked up my heater with a proper switch. Check out my ultra-sleek dash! The nail polish and white-out are SPOTs (Stupid Previous Owner Trick).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fun on Four Wheels

Shaun & I had a good day today. We went to work (patient didn't show, but I met a nice lady who was seeing someone else). We made a left turn over a giant slopey concrete median (hee hee! I've been dying to do that since he got here).

Despite the freak snowstorm last night, it was so warm out that I opened his front vents. This, the Rover version of air conditioning, is literally a metal flap just under the windscreen that pops up to allow wind, bugs, etc into the cabin. Very refreshing. :)

Then I solved the mystery of the wiper motors (there are two separate ones). The Land Rover motors are apparently made of "unobtainium." The choice was to either wait for one too show up on eBay, or rebuild the ones I have. Until today - problem conquered - details tomorrow!

Then I got home and found out my wonderful father has volunteered to pick up the wheels we need. Thanks, Dad!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Reverse-engineering contest!

This is an Old Navy sweater that doesn't fit me, so I have to return it. But I love the stitch, which presents a great opportunity for a blog contest.

The first pic is the front, the second the back. Then come the front and back stretched.

The first person who can send me a pattern to duplicate this stitch will win a lovely package from me with some yummy knitty surprises. Please indicate if you would like fiber or yarn (or both). I must be able to follow the pattern - text or chart, I'm bicraftual - so please be precise! "Some sort of slip stitch" is not sufficient! :)

Good luck!

laughinglagomorph (at) gmail (dot) com

ETA: This is a multi-ply cotton blend. Many great tries so far, and we've spurred a great thread on Ravelry, but nobody's pegged it yet. I'll be away from the computer today but will check in tonight. Big thanks to everyone!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

3rd Annual January Breakdown

Long-term readers will recall that for the past two years, we've had a spate of electrical and mechanical disasters in January. We were a tad ahead of the curve - the cars hemorrhaged cash along with coolant and oil in December. A few days ago our GPS died (what's with the 6 month life span on these things?) but we had a warranty, so actually that worked out beautifully. We got a fancy new one, free.

The real damage, though, was Matt's trust breaking down. This godsend of a monetary cushion has been providing child support and supplementing his meager resident's income. Unfortunately that's all coming to a rather harsh end. I can't afford to wait for my clinic to mature any more: I'll be looking for a job at a doc's office.

In an alternate bid to raise funds, Girlie and I are plotting a book. It'll be a sort of combination roadtrip and knitting adventure. The working title: A Hooker, A Dwarf, and a Taxi." Think Jack Kerouac with wool. Think Anthony Bourdain with yarn. And less expertise. Think Thelma and Louise, without the cigs, booze, and murder. Well... without the cigs and booze.

Once the book goes global, there'll be a movie. In Volume II we tour Europe: The Dwarf and the Hooker Go Abroad!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Time for the reveal...

So! Here's a sampling of my Xmas knitting. I didn't get a pic of Maddie's purple mittens, but maybe she'll send me one (hint, hint). Girlie wanted a collection of hemp face scrubbies, which is on display at Ravelry. The blue chenille pointy tassled hat is now Gillie's. The rat scarf is for SIL Mary. She used to work with lab rats and was their rodent lifestyle defender. No pattern, so they're each a little different, and the eyes are knit right in. My Xmas Secret Pal was in Hawaii, so I wanted to bring her some traditional "snow-on-holly" in a form that she could wear in her tropical paradise. It's a short scarf that she can drape around her neck or use to tie her hair back. Nancy, I'm sorry to say, is still waiting for her prezzie. There were some unforeseen troubles with final construction. It's coming, really! There was a bunch of other stuff, too, but these are the bits I think you will find most interesting.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Knitting Plan for 2008

I'm saying "Plan" just because it will be that much funnier when I look back in a year. You understand that, right?

First, my personal resolutions: Get more exercise, and be more proactive about building my clinic.

For the fibery stuff: I have two big projects underway right now. The fire blanket for Matt, which is nearly long enough now, and the Sock Ends Blanket. This last one excited me as a way to do charity work, plus use up the zillions of sock yarn ends that a knitter inevitably acquires. Some kind folks from Ravelry even sent me bits (see pic). Unfortunately, after knitting my very first square (see right edge), it struck me that knitting an entire blanket on size 1 needles was not, maybe, the brightest idea ever. Since, um, there aren't that many homeless dolls and I have to make a gazillion to do anything for an actual human-size person. *sigh*

Rethinking the concept now. Maybe lace bookmarks that I can donate for raffling or something... hmm. I'm open to suggestions here, people.

Other knitty stuff I want to get done this year: A lace shawl. A lace beaded shawl. Fingerless gloves for driving Shaun. Socks. Lots of socks. Entrelac. Learn Continental knitting. Colorwork. A beret. And I want to spin that sweater's worth of yarn I got at Rhinebeck, although I may not get the sweater knit (sound familiar, Emma?). Learn to crochet. :)

Finally: The big No Fiber Purchases in 2008 Vow. I can trade, win, or earn new stuff for the stash, but I promise not to lay out any actual cash. For a year. Seriously. All you evil hand-dyers just STAY AWAY! And if I click through in my sleep, just delete my order. Kthxbye.