Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Viking Helm for a Viking

It is very difficult to buy gifts for my Viking. This holiday season was no exception. Usually, I ask him flat out what he wanted. This year, he wanted a knitted Viking helm, complete with horns (even though he knows it's not quite historically accurate), but it is quite stereo typical.

We looked through Ravelry and he pointed out what he liked, what he didn't like, and what colors he wanted. I decided to use one Ravelry pattern as the base, making some modifications to it. I picked up some Cascade 220 in the approximate colors he wanted, and got to work.

My plan of attack was to a) knit up a beanie hat; b) knit the band separately; c) crochet the horns to make it denser than knitted fabric. So, here are my modifications to this pattern:

  1. Using SILVER GRAY YARN, do a provisional cast on for 96 stitches and knit the rivet band 
    • Moss stitch 4 rows
    • Knit 4 rows
    • *K7,  make bobble*  - repeat to end
    • Knit 4 rows
    • Moss stitch 4 rows
  2. Using DARK GRAY yarn, then knit until the same height as the band. Fold this band over to make a thick "head" band.
  3.  Slip 11 SG yarn onto waste yarn. 
  4. Knit 1 DG + 1SG together to form one stitch for 37 stitches (96 - 22 = 74 / 2 = 37)  Viking Helm Band
  5. Place 11 silver gray stitches on waste yarn, and knit 1 DG + 1SG together for 37 stitches. You end up with something like this:
  6. Knit hat in dark gray for 5.5" from brim. Then start decreases. 
  7. Pick up the 11 front stitches and knit band separately until it is the length of the hat. 
    • Row 1: p1, k1, p1 k5, p1, k1, p1
    • Row 2: k1, p1, k1 k5, k1, p1, k1
    • Bobble Row: Every 9 rows, insert a bobble in the middle of the bobble band ---- (moss stitch) k2, mB, k2, (moss stitch)
  8. Kitchener stitch the band to the back 11 stitches. 
  9. Sew down the edges band as desired. You get the following looking beanie.


Once the hat was finished, I wanted to crochet the horns. I found a pattern on Ravelry, but it was poorly written, so after MUCH frustration, I decided to make my own (which I'll post later). I also knitted a moss-stitch grey band around the bottom of the horn, to simulate how it might be attached to the actual helmet.
The Viking also wanted a "broken" horn, so I made that as well.

Then it was a matter of sewing it onto the hat.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Post Holiday Wrap-up...

Holiday wrap-up...get it? Presents? wrap? wrapping paper? Oh, nevermind, my puns are usually pretty bad, I blame it on DH.

I haven't been writing as much as of lately, because I was busily trying to get the last of the holiday gifts finished and wrapped. And our work schedule was pretty hectic so I found myself without a lot of time. Plus, I was trying to keep much of it as a surprise as some family members do read this blog.

For my BIL, I made some fingerless gloves so he could wear them to events without freezing his hands.


My eldest nephew specifically asked for new fingerless gloves. So I obliged. However, the weather was starting to actually turn warm where he lives, so I hope he gets some use out of them BEFORE he outgrows them.

And for my youngest nephew, I made him a Star Wars book bag (similar to his brother) with different fabric and a slightly different patterning, but still using the pattern I had used before. (Apparently, I forgot to take finished photos of the bag before I wrapped it up as a gift.)

All of the gifts I made, including the fleece blankets I made the previous month, were very well received. Both kids were wearing their fleece blankets wrapped around them for a good chunk of the holidays. All-in-all, a very good holiday. It makes me happy to make things for family who definitely appreciate the effort.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Star Wars Bookbag

I've been busy with the holidays, but wanted to get this particular post up as it had been sitting as a draft for some time. I had to wait until my nephew's birthday passed before I could post it. According to his mother, he really liked the bookbag I made for his sister, so I decided to make one for him.

As his birthday is very close to Christmas day, I really wanted to get this finished and mailed in time for his birthday. He's a big Star Wars fan, and I found a remnant of some licensed Star Wars fabric (along with a matching color denim) at JoAnn's. Luckily, the remnant was enough yardage (1.5 yards) to make a bookbag.


Taking my pattern from my leather bag, I added one inch seam allowance for fabric and started sewing.

Inner pockets

I made inner pockets so he could keep other things besides books. The sizing for the bag is 8" x 10" and is large enough for a book or two.

Star Wars BookbagStar Wars Book bag

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Making Gifts Makes Me Happy

I couldn't post about this knitting project until I could give it to the recipient, as I know she sometimes reads my blog. (It's the price of having a public blog!)

A dear friend is a big baseball fan and loves the San Francisco Giants. Earlier in the year, she mentioned wanting a hat in the team colors. (I had given her a red & black striped hat last year). I tried to look for a variegated orange/black combination but to absolutely no avail. So I opted to just create another striped hat instead.

I picked up some black Cascade 220 superwash and orange Cascade Pure Alpaca. It's a pretty warm and soft combination.

The pattern is the Elizabeth Zimmerman "tam-o-shanter" hat with a few modifications. The stripes are made using a odd-number progression (7-5-3-3) and a jogless jog. (In this photo, it hasn't been blocked, but I love the star effect.)


And to save a bit of wrapping (and to double as a re-useable gift bag or ditty bag), I also made this project bag for her. She loves sugar skulls and when I saw this fabric, I knew it was for her.

When I gave it to her, she danced around the room, singing "I got my Giant's hat...I got my Giant's hat....." She also loved the bag and had plans for it.

It makes me happy when a gift is well received by someone who I know will get plenty of use out of the item.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Swapetition Package Arrives

Today, I got my Swapetition package today from my "secret gifter". I was very excited! The box was a lot larger than I was anticipating, and all of the cats were super interested in it. I had to wait a good 30 minutes before I opened it, as I had just gotten home from work and I had to take care of a few things around the house first. It was an agonizing 30 minutes.

And then, when I opened it? OMG, everytime I opened up a new piece of the box, I kept saying "OMG, OMG, OMG...." I might have SQUEE'd several times over..... Everything in the box was amazing.  There were times, I was astounded at how "psychic" some of her choices were as they were absolutely and utterly perfect.

Here's Anpu checking out the box.

And I have to say, my swap partner wins this Swapetition, hands down. And here's why:

1) PRESENTATION. Her swap package was packaged amazingly well. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the box, and there was a HUGE PRESENT box inside it.  Her theme, "Winter is Coming" with all of the snowflakes, and she kept to the whole theme the entire way through!

(And, can I just say...SHE MADE THIS GIANT GIFT BOX. At first, I thought it was a store bought box, but when I opened it, I realized that she had made it herself. She took the fabric and lined a box with it. Then took the ribbon and matched it up *PERFECTLY* around the box.  As a crafter, this is like extra extra bonus credit. +1000 points!)


For "scale", Sammy is over 10 lbs and over 2 feet long.

She wrote this really cute poem.

Everything was thoughtfully wrapped in coordinating / matching gift bags/boxes. It was like opening up a multitude of gifts.
(I forgot to take a photo before I unwrapped everything, but here you can see all the wrappings!)

2) CONSISTENT THEME: She kept to the "Winter is Coming" theme quite nicely. Everything was about keeping warm & cozy. There were snowflakes everywhere.


3A) She gave me an EXPERIENCE. I love tea, but instead of just giving me TEA, she gave me an entire experience and a story to go with it. She went to visit the only tea plantation in the whole United States (I didn't know there was one!)

She took some pretty damn fine photos, mounted them on cards, and told me a little bit about each photo. She wrote that she wasn't a very good photographer, but I beg to differ! I love photography and the stories behind each photo are just an amazingly nice touch! (Not to mention the effort to do all of that!) So, now, when I drink this tea, I know where it comes from, who grew it, and how it got to me.

She sent me a keepsake from the plantation. (And because I live in California requiring that you bring your own bags to stores, this will get a lot of use!)

And she sent me a WHOLE LOTTA TEA!
She sent me both loose leaf and pre-bagged tea.

3B) Perfect little touches. She added a few little things here and there that made this more than just gifts. It shows some forethought!
This cute little book gives you a few tidbits about tea And there was the tea-based lip balm & lotion! (And seriously, today, because it was so cold, I was thinking of getting myself some more lip balm because the air was so dry -- PSYCHIC!

Sammy was super curious about the tea mugs. And here's another PSYCHIC moment -- someone took my tea mug at work yesterday, so now, I have a replacement, which I'm going to lock down with chain & key!

And so, cute, a tea bag holder and a sugar spoon. I LOVE the sugar spoon because it has a treble clef at the end, and I'm a musician, so it's a perfect gift! If you have tea bags and a tea cup, you need a tea bag holder and sugar spoon!

3C)  CUTE KNITTED GIFTS in keeping with the theme. In my FAVOURITE COLOUR of all time -- RED And, she thoughtfully included a note with ever single knitted item with the pattern name and designer.

Obviously, there was the tea-cup cozy in red and snowflake fair isle. (And, I'm not sure if that's Paula's real last name, but it'd be cool, if it were!)


A tea cup discloth that was in the silver gift bag, It's so soft!

And, I would have NEVER thought of even making these, but they are perfect for taking tea with me for when I go places. (I love the box they came in!)

A wonderful bookmark with cabling (I LOVE cables). This is going into the next book I read.

And this awesome neck warmer! It's wonderfully WARM and red! And in another psychic moment, today, as I was walking home in the cold, I was considering starting some more cowls/scarves!

 (I might have immediately put this on myself, because it was too soft NOT to wear...)

And here's ANOTHER PSYCHIC moment.....She got me this yarn, and apologized for it because it had PINK in it. But, I had JUST bought this yarn from my LYS and was thinking about ordering another skein. I loved the colors (despite the pink) and had started a project with it. I wanted another skein to do more colorwork projects.


So, in conclusion, to my wonderful swap partner, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. This was a most amazing swap gift I have ever had the honor to receive. You've set the bar for any other swap I might do in the future. You rock. You deserve to win this Swapetition.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Avengers Project Bag

While I was perusing fabric for project bags, I found this fabric -- covers of various Marvel comic book. And it was predominately, the AVENGERS! I love the movie, so of course, I had to have it and turn it into a project bag. It's the perfect thing to take to various conventions where both geeks and crafters can appreciate it!

Luckily, it doesn't take much to actually make one of these bags, plus, I had some red cordoroy fabric that I used as a reinforced bottom.

And what better first project to put into my new Avenger's project bag than my colorwork sock?

And of course, a pre-requisite photo of one of the cats along with the project bag!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Giving into Start-itis

Sometimes, you just have to give into an idea. On Black Friday at the the Pajama-Jammie Jam hosted by Purlescence Yarns, I found some awesome yarn --- Manos del Uruguay. The colorway is called "Locura Flou" (which translates into Fuzzy Madness? at least according to an approximate Google translation.....)


I love the colors, but wasn't sure how it was going to work up in a given sock yarn. One of my friends at the shop showed me a pattern showcasing a colorful skein of yarn, which wasn't quite what I was looking for, but gave me an awesome idea, but I needed a black skein of similar weight. Unfortunately, they didn't have any Manos solid colour yarn where I could temper down the vivid colours of this skein, so I picked up something that was close enough.


I "was" going to wait to cast on what I had envisioned until I could finish another WIP, because I get antsy if I have too many things on-the-needles, but I really really couldn't resist.


I totally gave into temptation. I did a quick gauge swatch, then started knitting.  I've dubbed it "Stained Glass". It's going to be AWESOME.