Friday, February 19, 2010

Details, details

I finished all the pieces of the HellSackboy last night, except for the head. Today I have to knit the head and buy a zipper, sew it all together, stuff it and embroider on some yellow eyes. Then knit a brown utility belt (probably just a narrow strip), items to go on the utility belt (small knitted rectangles for pockets, a tiny gun and rosary? I have no idea how I'll knit a rosary ...) and a tan overcoat. Then it'll be done.

So here's what I've done.

For the record: I'm using Alan Dart's Sackboy pattern. And it is great.

I started with the body. I knitted the lower portion with black -- about 9 rows -- to serve as part of his shorts. Then I switched to red and finished the body.

Then I began the legs. I worked the lower 6 rows in black for the boots, then 7 rows of red for his legs, and finished with another 5 rows of black for the legs of the shorts.

The tail is an i-cord of varying sizes. I started out with 8 stitches and worked 9 rows, then decreased to 6 stitches and worked another 8 rows, then decreased to 4 and worked another 8 rows, then finally decreased to 3 and worked 8 more rows. Decreased to 2, knit one more row plain, decreased to 1 and ended it. I'm going to insert a red pipe cleaner in this before sewing it to the body so it'll be poseable. (To make that more clear: the tail consisted of 39 rows total. CO 8, work even 9 rnds, dec-to-6 rnd, work even 8 rnds, dec-to-4 rnd, work even 8 rnds, dec-to-3 rnd, work even 8 rnds, dec-to-2 rnd, work even 1 rnd, dec-to-1 rnd, BO 1.)

The left arm was worked as specified in the pattern, except with red yarn. Easy.

The right arm was pretty fiddly. It started out as specified in the pattern. After the first 5 rows, though, I switched it up. Rows 6 and 7 were reverse stockinette, and on row 6, I increased every other stitch (using kfb increases, because that's what the rest of the pattern uses). On row 8, I switched back to regular stockinette, decreasing 3 stitches evenly across the row. Rows 9-11 were worked even in stockinette. Rows 12-13 were reverse stockinette again, and on row 12, I added back the 3 previously decreased stitches. On row 13, I decreased those same 3 stitches again and switched back to regular stockinette. (See what I mean? Fiddly. And I haven't even gotten to the worst part yet.) I cast stitches on and off for the thumb just as the pattern specifies, except I had more stitches overall at this point -- 18 sts, as opposed to the pattern's 12. I worked 2 more rows even, as the pattern specifies, then I completely deviated from the pattern when I got to the fingers. I needed 3 fingers, all the same size, and I couldn't figure out how to get anything like that from the pattern instructions. So instead, I split the stitches into 6 groups of 3 sts each (I only had 15 sts, so I did 3 m1 incs evenly across the row while I was splitting up the stitches) and worked them all separately for 5 rows even, binding off each group after the 5 rows. This gave me a LOT of ends to deal with, but fortunately, they'll be hidden inside the toy anyway, so I don't have to do a spectacular job of weaving them in. And when I fold the arm in half and sew up the seam, I'll match up the 2 opposite "fingers" and sew them together, creating 3 identical, blocky fingers.

Clear as mud? I'll write up my modifications step-by-step when I finish, in case anybody wants to recreate my HellSackboy for any reason. Right now, this is more or less me writing notes to myself so I can remember what I did when it comes time to write out the step-by-step process.

Anyway, yes, the right arm was a pain to work. But it looks pretty good.

Now, for the head. I'll mostly be following the pattern, but I'm making one change. Zane said he prefers to have a big, open-mouthed grin, like in the crocheted Sackboy here. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to accomplish that yet, but most likely by binding off and then casting on stitches a row or two later. Like one big buttonhole. Then I'll work a mouth separately and insert it. I love that the girl on Craftster used a cd to make the mouth, but if that turns out too big or small for my toy's head, I'll just use stiff plastic canvas or something. I'll probably knit the inner mouth, though, instead of using felt ... I'll just knit it in black and then duplicate stitch the tongue on.

Then, I'll sew it all together, adding a zipper to the body and a pipe cleaner to the tail, and stuff. Embroider on eyes, knit the utility belt and coat, and voila. HellSackboy!

Zane better feel special, too. I don't go to this much trouble for just anybody.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I started a knitted, stuffed toy for Zane today. He asked me for a Hellboy version of Sackboy, the star of the PS3 game Little Big Planet. Not too difficult; Sackboy is a knitted figure to begin with (and Simply Knitting offers a free Alan Dart pattern) so all I have to do is make the necessary modifications to turn him into Hellboy. For the most part, that just means choosing the right colors.

I'll post more details and pictures later. Right now, I'm just too tired. I have a cold. And I took Benadryl last night to help me sleep, and I'm pretty sure it's still affecting me now.

This is my second Ravelympics project. I don't think I'll have too much trouble finishing it before the 28th. Except that I'm a perfectionist who has to add in all the little details. But whatever. I'll get it done. Sometime. Hopefully by the 28th.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One project down

And unknown amounts more to go.

I finished the Ravelympics/Vermont/colorwork hat I was working on. See?

Cool looking top decreases, right? I thought so. Granted, I semi-designed them ... based on my normal decrease pattern and a part of the original chart.

Anyway. It's not perfect, but I'm pretty fond of it. And I finished it early this morning. Took me 3 days and 7 hours. Not too shabby.

I'll do Zane's HellSackboy next, but I'm not casting on for that one just yet, even though I am on a deadline and my new goal is to finish as many projects as possible. Right now, no knitting. I'm just going to go catch up on all the sleep I didn't get last night because I was too busy finishing this hat!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Looks like a hat ...

Well. So. Remember how I said I'd be lucky to finish my fair isle hat before the end of the Olympics/Ravelympics? Well, I was wrong about that. I'm not quite on the home stretch yet, but I'm close. I'm 10 rows away from starting the decreases. I could very conceivably finish this hat today, only 2 days after starting it and with 15 days to spare in the competition.

I can't believe the knitting is going this quickly. I mean, I've knit hats in a single day before, but they were plain stockinette hats with worsted weight yarn and size 5 circular needles/size 6 dpns for the top. I've barely knit any stranded colorwork before, and what I did knit was with worsted weight or heavier. And it was certainly MUCH slower than my normal knitting pace. We're talking hours to finish a 20 st x 10 row swatch. Plus, smaller needles and yarn require more stitches, and therefore more time, to fill the same amount of space as larger yarn and needles, and I am noticeably slower on dpns than I am with circs. So how in the world am I managing to knit a fully-stranded hat on size 3 dpns in only 2 days?!

This is completely unexpected, and it baffles me. I was betting on 4 rows per day for my average. Um, yeah. Try 34 today. I only have 29 rows left, 19 of which take place after the decreases begin, which means they're all getting shorter and shorter. But even if you ignore that, if I only worked 2 rows per day, I'd STILL finish in time for a Ravelympics medal.

But I'm not going to do that. I'm going to finish this hat as quickly as I can, then I'm moving on to Zane's HellSackboy. I'll include it with my Ravelympics projects too, and I should be able to finish it easily. So I'll also include another project from the top of my queue. I just haven't figured out yet which one I'll start after the plushie. Luke's gloves aren't eligible, but the matching hat is. So is my hat and glove set. I'm just not sure which I want to knit most. I want to get Luke's hat out of the way, but it's another hat knit with fingering weight out of size 3s, and quite frankly, I don't know if I can take it this soon after working the Vermont Hat. I don't know. I'll figure it out later.

In the meantime ... today's progress:

It looks like a hat, but it fits like a glove. Maybe it's because it's 3 a.m., but I find that little pun extremely funny right now.

This hat also happens to be insanely comfortable, and I can't wait to wear it. I need to measure and make sure the length is working out properly before I start knitting tomorrow; I may even be able to shorten the hat a little. It also has a few ladders, but I think I can easily take care of those with blocking.

I think I now have the fair isle bug. You know, to go along with my lace bug and my cable bug?

Hi, my name is Amie, and I'm a knitaholic.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympian challenges

Short blog post tonight, because it's 2 a.m. and I've been knitting almost non-stop since a little past 9 p.m. I so did not realize it had been that long! :) That's good, though, because I have a lot of work to do in a small amount of time.

You see, Jess and I are both participating in the Ravelympics. I'll let her blog about her own project, but I'm competing in both the Hat Halfpipe and the Nordic Colorwork Combined events with the same project: the Vermont Hat. Knitting started tonight at the same time the Olympics opening ceremony began, and the challenge is to complete your project(s) before midnight on the last day of the Olympics. This gives us ... 17 days? I think?

Yes, my only goal is for one hat. Yes, hats are my niche. But this one is slightly different. For one thing, it's fair isle. Much, much slower than my normal hat-making. Also, I'm using fingering weight yarn (Knitpicks Palette) on size 3 needles, which is quite a bit smaller than my normal dk-to-worsted on 5s. It's going to be a real challenge for me to get finished in such a short time period, especially since I'll be at work for the majority of those days and my knitting time will be limited. But I'm excited about the prospect, and hey, maybe the Ravelympics will be just the inspiration I need to push me to finish.

Oh, and by the way, that original hat was worked in worsted weight yarn, and the top is solid color. The second color is only used around the "tube" part of the hat (technical term there). I didn't like that (stupid perfectionism!) so, as usual, I modified it. First I modified the hat to work with fingering weight, then I added extra colorwork designs to the crown of the hat, all the way up to the decreases. The last row that uses the second color is only 2 rows away from finishing the hat, and the next-to-last row would've been a solid-color row anyway. I'm kind of proud of my modifications on this one.

For now, anyway. Ask me again when I'm rushing to complete all that colorwork on the last day of the Ravelympics.

I will, however, explain what I did later if it works out well. I won't provide my complete chart, because that would be copyright infringement, but I can show off what I added and explain my other mods.

This is my first real fair isle project, by the way. I've done some practice stuff, and a little bit of intarsia, but I've never really done any large-scale stranded colorwork. I think I enjoy it. Which is probably a good thing, since I am completely in love with a lot of stranded colorwork patterns. Oh the prospects.

So, now that I've bored you with all those details, wanna see a picture of tonight's progress?

In case you can't tell from that terrible photo, my yarn is green and white, just like the pattern photo. It's Palette colorways Edamame and Cream, if you're interested.

I got through 5 rows of ribbing (on size 1s to help it do what ribbing's supposed to do: pull inward and stay snug around the body) and 5 rows past that, the first of which was just a solid color. I probably won't average 10 rows every day. That would be asking too much. Although, I have to admit, I was knitting 132 sts of 1x1 ribbing on size 1 Boye needles, which is no easy feat ... that didn't exactly go quickly, either.

Still, I like how it's turning out, and I'm 1/12 of the way to the decreases, not counting the ribbing or the solid row immediately following it. If I can work 4 stranded rows per day, I should be ready to start the decreases 11 days from now, leaving me 5 days for the decreases. That is definitely doable, since there are only 19 rows of decreases and the rows are shorter, ending with only 12 stitches after the last row.

I can do this. I can do this! But I might need you all to cheer me on. I respond very well to compliments and encouragement. ;)

More information on both Jess's Ravelympics project and my own is available on our respective Ravelry pages, which have been conveniently linked for you on the sidebar. Because my perfectionism doesn't just apply to hats.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Icarus KAL Jess's version (hehe)

Ok well Amie talked me into knitting this one with her. Trust me it wasn't hard for her to talk me into it at all. It was on my list of lace pieces I wanted to knit. I already had yarn I wanted to use in stash. And if I'm going to completely my 10shawls in 2010 challenge I'd better get to knitting. So I quickly picked up needles and yarn and got to knitting.


Pattern:" Icarus Shawl by Miriam L. Felton"
Yarn: Lacey Lamb by Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibers in color 313
Needles: US 3(3.25mm)
Notes: left out 1 repeat because I didn't want to run out of yarn. I had less than 10 grams leftover.


This was a fun pattern to knit. There were a couple times that I wished it wasn't so big. But overall it was a very nice knit. I'm not sure I'll ever knit it again. But if I did I'd add beads and change the last knitting row to only 2yo instead of 4 (Amie mentioned this to me when she was finished and I was still knitting but I decided to stick with the pattern this go... I'll take her advice next time hehe)


I'm extremely happy with this project. I absolutely love how it turned out.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


As you'll see on the sidebar, I'm halfway finished with Luke's Gamer Gloves, which are an adaption of Knitty's Cigar gloves.

Here's the first of the pair:

Keep in mind that my husband's hands are quite a bit larger than my own. That glove is pulled tightly around my hand and pinned at the palm so the Tetris block design is stretched out and shows up well. On his hands, the design is centered both vertically and horizontally. The fingers also fit, and the gloves don't reach almost to his elbows.

This is the right hand glove, obviously. I'm 5 rows into the second glove now. It will have a blue L-shaped Tetris piece on it. (L for left, or for Luke.)

He chose single Tetris pieces for the design because he wanted something simplistic, from a retro game, that wasn't instantly recognizable to the whole world. By themselves, these aren't automatically identifiable as Tetris pieces, at least not to non-gamers.

In order to be authentic, these pieces would both need to be the same non-descript greenish color, since that's all you got on the original Gameboy. But Luke wanted something a little brighter and more noticeable. So we went a little more modern for the colors. Which means this t-shaped piece actually should have been yellow, but he's not a huge fan of yellow, so we just went with red instead. Creative license. Most people won't know it's "wrong" anyway.

The matching hat will have 4 designs in a ring around the bottom: Zelda's triforce, Mario's P wing, an energy tank from Mega Man and the screw attack symbol from Metroid.

The P wing and the screw attack are a real pain in the butt to chart, let me tell ya. Especially when you keep either losing the chart or changing your gauge for the project, which changes the number of stitches allowed for each design. This will be the third time I've created a chart for this stupid project.

At least the triforce, the energy tank and the Tetris blocks are easy.

Oh, by the way, these gloves and hat are made from Patons Kroy sock yarn in a now-discontinued gray. The designs are added using brightly-colored embroidery floss, and the outlines are in black Knitpicks Essential/Stroll sock yarn because it was handy and I didn't have any black embroidery floss on hand.

I'll upload my charts to the blog when I finish, just in case anyone else ever needs to knit a P wing or an energy tank.

Oh, and by the way, these gloves are called gamer gloves for another reason, too, not just because of the designs on the backs. They're designed so that he can wear them while playing games. That's why I left off the tips of the thumb, index and middle fingers; those are the ones he uses most often when playing. His right hand is almost always either on the mouse or the right half of the controller, and that doesn't require the use of his ring or pinky fingers. Left hand is slightly different -- WASD games use the ring finger a little more and occasionally even the pinky -- but he'll deal.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Pictures of Icarus!

(Disclaimer: the pictures aren't great, due to a combination of poor lighting in my apartment, an uncooperative camera, my lack of a dark-colored towel to block on, a nosy cat and the fact that I was teetering on the edge of the bed to take the shots. But the lines in the shawl really are straight, I promise; they're distorted because of my weight on the bed the shawl's laid out on. And the yarn is actually a natural cream color, despite the fact that it looks almost gold in some of the pictures.)

Click on the pictures to see them bigger.

I couldn't get the whole thing in the shot ... I was too close. Darn my height (or lack thereof)!
I had to settle for the arched look on top in order to get the points pinned out correctly. If worst comes to worst, I'll spritz the top part with some water and re-block just that portion. I don't know. Maybe the scallops won't be noticeable when I unpin it, or maybe I'll even like them. We'll see.
I love how this picture really picks up the yarn's sheen. It's not that noticeable in real life, sadly, but it's still pretty.

Another shot showing off the silky sheen and the pretty points. (Yeah, so I like alliteration, so what?)

Detail of the bottom point. I thought this turned out especially well. Again, the points are even and the lines are straight when I'm not standing on the bed.

And the bottom from another angle, showing how the straight stockinette lines branch out into the feathers along the edge.

I'm pretty proud of this one. I love the way it turned out.

Vital statistics:
Pattern: MimKnits' Icarus, originally printed in Interweave Knits Summer 2006
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr laceweight in white
Needles: Size 3 Knitpicks fixed 24" circular (nickle-plated)
Mods: Cut out two repeats of chart 1 because I'm only 4'10" and didn't want my shawl to look like it was eating me
Finished size: 60" across the top (My target size! Yay!)
Pros/cons: In general, I love this shawl. However, the yo4s in the next-to-last row were overkill, in my opinion. I understand that it makes it easier to block the points out, but even after tugging and adjusting as much as possible, I ended up with a big loop of yarn just hanging there on each point. (You yo4, and on the next row you purl into one loop and drop the other 3.) I'm not sure what I'll do about those loops yet, but the yo4 just made an excessively big, loose stitch. I think a double or triple yo would have worked just as well and wouldn't have left all that excess yarn hanging.

Now I have to find something to make with the leftover Zephyr. I definitely got my money's worth out of that cone. I bought it from Sarah's Yarns for $50, and so far, it's produced two stoles, a wedding garter and now Icarus. And I probably still have half a cone leftover. I definitely recommend it.

I'll try to get pictures of me wearing it eventually, but no promises. It's cold and snowy out there, and I'm cold-natured! Plus, I'm really not even a shawl person. I just wanted to knit this.

More photos and progress details on Ravelry.



I finished pinning out Icarus at about 11:45 p.m., meaning I finished in about 3 weeks and 22 or 23 hours. I'm satisfied with that.

I'm also pretty satisfied with how the shawl turned out, too. It's exactly 60" across the top, which was my goal, and looks very pretty all stretched out there.

I'll get some pictures tomorrow before I unpin it.

Yay for FOs!

Now, on to Luke's gamer gloves/hat set. Which I'm already frustrated with because he decided the already-finished glove "doesn't feel right" even though he had previously given it his approval. Grrr. This is why I don't knit for my husband. He is way too indecisive. It would have nice to know that the glove's thumb gusset didn't feel right before I finished the rest of the stupid glove!

I just want to get this project out of the way so I can move on to the fun stuff. I ordered yarn for another hat and two sweaters today, and I have plans to order yarn for another shawl whenever the girl gets back in touch with me. And I have yarn stashed for a hat and gloves for myself. Plus I have to knit Zane a plush toy. I probably don't have the right yarn in stash for that, but psh, it's a toy ... Walmart yarn will do just fine, and I can pick that up any time.