Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Quidditch CAL

Here I am, posting my very last project in the spring 2009 term of the House Cup. It's been a fun and challenging experience to say the least. I am sad that things are about to come to an end. On a positive note though, I only have one month to fill until the fall term starts and I can play all over again! For the month of August, I am taking a change on a new Potter activity - The North American Institute of Magical Education. It's basically a mini house cup that runs just in the month between terms. It sounds like a blast and the perfect thing to keep me busy while I'm waiting for the real Cup to start again.

The Potions assignment this month was genius. We were studying the Felix Felicis potion, and the project was to make something small, gold and sparkly. However, Felix is a banned substance on the Quidditch pitch. So, if we were a part of our house Quidditch team (which I was), we had an alternate assignment. We had to make something see-through instead. How fun is that?

The Slytherin team decided to do a KAL/CAL together since we all had to do the alternate assignment. The people that wanted to knit made the Omo scarf. The people that wanted to crochet made the Alpine Frost Scarf. This time, I decided to go along with the crocheters.


Pattern: Alpine Frost Scarf by Amy O'Neill Houck
Yarn: Caron Naturally Country in Peacock
Mods: I used a worsted weight instead of a laceweight, so my hook size and starting chains had to be recalculated. I used a K hook and cast on 27 stitches.



I am very pleased with how this scarf came out. I love the color, the yarn I used and the drape I got after I "killed" the acrylic yarn. It was my first time trying this technique and it worked beautifully.


I can't wait until it's a little colder out and I get a change to wear this! I crocheted until it felt long enough and I'm happy with the length I ended up with. I can't measure it now because I am in the middle of packing up and moving, but I believe it's about 5 feet long.


This pattern was originally written for laceweight yarn, and it would look very lovely in that weight. I wanted a quicker knit this time, and using worsted made that a possibility. The open stitch pattern makes it airy and light even though I used a thicker yarn.


This is a very good scarf, and that's all I can say. What more could I want? Now it needs some fingerless mitts to match it!

On the moving front, things are progressing quickly. I'm happy to be moving, but I'm a little apprehensive too. It will be the first time we are on our own - completely supporting ourselves. It's irrational to worry because I know we have enough money to live nicely, but still. It's a little scary! Everyone's gotta make the leap sometime though, right? At 23 years old, I am way past due. Now if I could only find a job so I could start pulling in more than the pitiful salary substitute teaching pays . . .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ants!!!

Well, today turned out to be a very busy posting day! I just got word that my swap partner has received her package from me. I included my Charms homework from this month as one of the items and now that she has her package I am free to post about it!

The assigment this month was to make something, then duplicate it. I decided to make two identical ants:



Pattern: Ants by Hansi Singh
Yarn: Vanna's Choice Worsted in Chocolate Brown
Mods: Instead of picking up stitches for the antennae, I made small crochet chains and sewed them onto the head. Picking up stitches from the head neatly and uniformly is extremely difficult.



This project was hard. I had to do a multitude of fiddly things like picking up stitches, short rows, grafting and seaming properly. With items this small, the tiniest mistake tends to stand out. Since these were a gift for another person, I had to make sure that I did a professional, classy job.



The little ant legs have wire in them so they are bendy. If you are considering trying this pattern out, you'll notice that Singh claims using pipe cleaners inside the legs is an optional step. Be aware that if you leave them out, the ant will look like total crap. The legs absolutely need structure.



Also, if I were to make this ant again, I would seam up the ant legs around the pipe cleaners right from the outset. The pattern suggests inserting them much further along during the assembly. I found this to be impossible, so I had to use thinner and less stable craft wire. The legs should most definitely be seamed around pipe cleaners.



One change I made to the pattern was the assembly of the antennae. The pattern tells you to pick up four stitches in a tiny circle on each side of the head and do an i-cord outward. I couldn't find a way to do this without it looking totally uneven and lumpy, so I just crocheted a couple of chains and sewed them on. It works just as well in my opinion.



Here's a shot of the underside. The finished product is really cute. It was a tough job putting these guys together, but totally worth it in the end. The only problem is that now I want one for myself!

Lavender's Bath Set

In the interest of being all caught up with posting my projects, here's what I turned in for DADA today. Our assignment was to make an item inspired by the Half Blood Prince novel. I made a trio of washcloths in honor of Lavender Brown, girly girl extraordinaire.



Patterns: Two Hearts as One Dishcloth by Cathy Waldie (red)
Lattice Hearts Dishcloth by Rachel van Schie (white)
X's and O's Dishcloth by Rachel van Schie (pink)
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton in Poppy Red
Sugar and Cream Cotton in White and Light Pink
Mods: none




I'm very pleased with how these cloths came out. This red one was a very easy pattern and the heart image shows up nice and clear.



I knew I wanted the cloths to be in pink, red and white. That meant one of them had to be boring because white just isn't all that exciting. You can't see the pattern as well as you can on the other cloths in this color, but it looks excellent in person.



This cloth was the most intricate and it has a little bit of lace in the center, so it's my favorite. I was just telling my husband the other night that once we move out into our own place, we will never have to buy a dishcloth because I will be making all of them. These will make a nice start to that stack.

In non-knitting news, I'm finally moving! My sister has to move to a new apartment. Her old landlord, desperate to keep her from moving, offered to lower her rent to $590 a month for her one bedroom condo if she would stay. Price wasn't the issue behind her moving, so she declined the offer, but we jumped all over it. We will never find a better deal around here, so we are moving into her place at that same low rate. This could all happen as soon as August, since my sister's new place wants her to move in at the beginning of the month!

Finally, we won't be living with my mother anymore! We will be independent! This is SO worth cutting back on yarn to save for moving expenses!

Ugh - My hilariously off-gauge hat

I wrote a little bit yesterday about my hat debacle. I mustered up the strength to take some pictures of it outside today so I could do my blog entry. Without any further adieu:

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Pattern: Foliage by Emilee Mooney
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Honeydew
Mods: I made version 1 using a size 10 needle

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It's a real shame that my gamble on needle substitution didn't pay off because the hat came out very nicely. I didn't make any errors in the pattern and the yarn is nice and smooshy. What a complete waste.

Honestly, the thing came out so small that I doubt using the size 10.5 needles would have saved it. It needed another one or two repeats of the lace added in. Once again - I hate top down hats! This isn't one I'll be making again, that's for sure. The problems were all my fault, but that doesn't make me any less frustrated!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Super Slouchy Beret

I finished blocking my Muggle Studies project today, and in the interest of being prompt with my posting, here it is!



Pattern: Grace Lace Beret by Elizabeth Eisenstein
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed DK in Morning Glory
Mods: None



I made this hat for my sister, who has been asking me to make a beret for her for a long time. It came out really well. I definitely like how the City Tweed knits up.



I followed the instructions on this pattern to the letter. It was an easy and fun project. I was really surprised to see how much it grew during blocking! It was a bit on the small side for a beret, but once I put it in some cool water I feel like it grew 50% in size. I was so afraid I wrecked it by making it too big, but my sister said she likes it.



Naturally I tried it on before giving it away, and I discovered that I don't look good in berets. At all. It's my huge forehead that wrecks the look. Oh well.

In other news, my hatred for top down hats continues! I was trying to make Foliage today for my Herbology project. I was using the wrong size needle (a 10 instead of a 10.5 just because I don't have a 10.5) and it came out entirely too small. Like, we're talking child sized. There's no way that it would have been right even if I had the right needle.

That's my issue with top down hats - I can't try them on as I go. I hate trying to figure out gauge on hats because doing a swatch in the round is super inconvenient. I like being able to try it on as I knit so I can decide if I want to add more repeats or whatever. That luxury is gone when you're knitting from the top down. I hate it!

Some day I'll learn not to do top down patterns. Until that day comes, I need to find a child to bestow my shrunken hats on.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Luna's Earrings

Wow, two posts in one night! It's a new record!

I actually finished my Astronomy project a few days ago, but I'm just getting around to posting about it now. For this assignment, I was supposed to make something that sparkled like the night sky. I chose to make these cute earrings that I saw in the new issue of Interweave Crochet out of some sparkly silver crochet thread I had laying around.




Pattern: Island Earrings and Necklace by Robin Chachula
Yarn: Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet Thread in Silver (Size 10)
Mods: None

These earrings were a little bit tricky to make. The thread I was using had this silvery tinsel-like thread running through it. This made the thread wonderfully sparkly, but very tough to crochet with!



I'm mostly pleased with how they came out. They aren't 100% identical (which is completely my fault), and that bothers me. Darn my inner-perfectionist! I don't know If I have the guts to wear these out. They're so big!

In other news, I got my Reducio Swap package yesterday! My partner sent me a ton of lovely things, including a Slytherin mini-sock and a really fun crochet cupcake pincushion.

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I really love everything I got. I can't wait until my partner gets my kit in the mail. I just sent if off yesterday, so it will be a few days yet. Until then I will knit and wait in anticipation to see if she likes it!

My Completed OWL

After three months of very hard work I finally finished my Charms OWL. The shawl came out very nicely and I'm happy to report that the various mistakes I made throughout the piece essentially disappeared with blocking.



Pattern: Queen Anne's Lace by MMario
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Shocking Pink
Mods: I used size 4 needles to get a smaller FO

I love how bright and vibrant the Shocking Pink is. It really makes the shawl something special. Despite my frustrations and little boo boos I make knitting it, I'm pleased with the final product.

It is still my dream to knit a completely mistake-free shawl one of these days!

I just love lace. Really. I do. It's far and away my favorite type of knitting.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Status Update

Wow, it's been awhile since I blogged! Rest assured, I have been busy with a lot of knitting and crochet projects. I have some things completed for my July classes, but I can't put up photographs! You see, they are surprises for a few swaps I'm in right now. Once my partners receive their items, I'll do full project posts. I'll have to leave them a mystery for a little while longer. :)

Some things I can show you are the projects I completed for Quidditch. As a chaser on the Slytherin team this term, I felt it was my duty to pull us out of the slump we were in with wristers. I whipped up 20 pairs for us!

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I also did a few emergency baby hats, which helped us meet our baby goal.

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Thank goodness for the speediness of crochet!

In other exciting news, I have my shawl blocking! That's right, my OWL is complete. I should have full pictures of that up very soon. It turns out that you can't see my major mistake in it when it's all blocked out! Well . . . I can see it. I'll always be able to see it. But I don't think anyone else will!

Harry Potter tonight! Yay!