Category Archives: projects

Key Cover

Key Cover
Originally uploaded by jwordsmith.

Ha! I love having a useful hobby.

The handle came off my car key. It’s one of those big black keys with electronics in it and a key part that whips out like a switchblade. It also had a handle on one end that let me attach it to my key ring.

Then there was an incident with a small boy and my keychain hooked to my belt loops and…now the key has no handle.

I’ve been carrying it loose for a couple of weeks and it was driving me insane (always having to search every pocket of every garment, never knowing where it was when I was out…).

Surely, I thought, knitting could solve my dilemma.

So I picked up my #1 Addi circular needles and some lovely fine merino I’ve had since I came down with my latest bout of knitting (four years ago) and cast on eight stitches. Then I turned them around and picked up eight more from the bottom.

I knitted a couple of rounds of 2×2 rib, then decided it was going to be too small. Did I frog? I did not.

I added a couple of stitches in the purls at the each row (I was working with the magic loop method) and kept knitting.

When my key fitted inside with a bit spare to suck in the top, I cast off all but two stitches, made a little i-cord loop, knitted that back into the neck of the thing and tucked in my ends.

I’m pretty proud of myself.

I went to the grocery store tonight and was able to find my key, point it at the car to lock and unlock it and know that my key was hanging from my keyring where it was supposed to be.

I have to take it out to drive the car, of course, but that’s OK. I know where it is when I’m driving!

I reckon if the ribbing gets slack I’ll thread some elastic through the neck and still be able to use it.

Big lace shawls are lovely, but this? This was quick, utilitarian, and very, very satisfying.

And hopefully will stop me locking the 1 yr old in the car again. (A-hem.)

Trekking Cable Socks

Trekking Cable Socks
Originally uploaded by jwordsmith.

I must write up the pattern for these since they are the first socks I’ve made that I am unreservedly pleased with. They fit great (I like a short sock); I’ve finally learned what “pick up and knit” really means, which makes a huge difference to the quality of my work; and I even took time to fix mistakes.

(Look Ma, our little knitter’s growing up… )

I wasn’t keen on these flap heelps when seen in pictures (and in my first, fudged attempts at socks in chunky yarn) but in a real sock yarn the make for an incredibly comfortable and well-fitting sock.

And the colours and feel of Trekking XXL, don’t get me started. It is taking all my reserve not to order more right now. All hail the Yarn Harlot for showing the way.

Sock Wars and Trekking Mitts

OK, so the Cyberman Sweater is seriously in the frogpond. That’s what you get for winging the pattern for a style of sweater you’ve never knitted before. Not to worry. I broke out the Stitches software and have a pattern I think will work. At least I know my prototype was cute, if small. It should knit up not-too-slowly once I get going.

I’m very excited that yarn-monkey has posted the specifications for the Sock Wars bloodbath, that is due to start on September 22. The good news is that the pattern is in DK, which means it will knit up relatively quickly. That is also the bad news, since I’m sure there are knitters out there who do not have two small children and two grown men to look after at that point (no, I’m not a polygamist, but I will have my father-in-law staying) and who will also be able to knit socks quickly.

I ordered some “Bare” DK from KnitPicks and intend to break out the Kool-Aid and dye the yarn into something fabulous. I may get #1Son to help. Or I may not, since I have great plans for how I can figure out how much yarn goes into each round, and create great looping stripes of colour. (You know it’s all going to end up as a puddle of mud, but hey, even that will go well under business trousers).

After I had clicked the “BUY, BUY, YOU CRAZY FOOL” button, it did occur to me that I might never see the finished result, should I be killed in the first round, but I’m hoping that wherever the socks end up, they end up with someone with a sense of humour, a digital camera and a blog.

In other news, I broke out the Trekking XXL (which seemed only fitting coming up to today’s 40th anniversary of the first broadcast of Star Trek), that I bought at the Knit and Crochet Show back in July. It is absolutely gorgeous. Subtley gorgeous, but gorgeous nonetheless. I’m knitting some fingerless mitts (and maybe mitt covers). I had started them as socks, but I couldn’t bear to put this beautiful colour where I wouldn’t see it very much. Looking down at my hands will be like looking down into the tarn at the bottom of a ridge on a mountain I once climbed on a clear autumn day, back when I was free to date outdoor cats. It is deep and blue and watery and as natural a blue as I can imagine.

And what’s more it feels great in the hand.

I’ve been very impressed with KnitPicks, but I have to say theirs was the first sock yarn I ever used and it almost put me off for life. I think the fact that I was using needles too big (what did I know?) didn’t help but it felt like I was knitting with string. Trekking feels like I’m knitting with spun baby hair and sponges. Hmm, that didn’t sound as attractive as I meant it to.

Anyhoo, I’m off to add the mitts to the sidebar. Pictures tomorrow in the natural light, if I remember, because I’m not sullying this project with yellow artificial light.

Cyberman Continues

Ok, this is a sweater for an 18-month-old (mine) boy and features the Cyberman picture I created (below).

I did the front quite quickly. I’m kind of busking the measurements on the raglan sleeves and neckline, but I’m trying to remember to write down what I’ve done.

The back went really well. I worked the sleeve decreases and the back of the neck, cast off for the shoulders and then, yes THEN, I remembered about the size of toddler’s heads in relation to the rest of their bodies….

Actually I had remembered about it before I cast on, and intended to build in a button-up opening in the back, but I had knitted the back while doing something else and completely forgotten all my good intentions.

So I ripped back a few rows and tried again.

When I had finished the opening and cast off again I realised that it was still woefully too small and I was going to have to go back almost all the way to where I started the armhole decreases.

It’s a good thing it’s a small sweater and knitted in worsted.

But we’re back on track now. I’m knitting up one side of the back with a built-in button band. I still have no idea if it’ll really fit him, but I’m having fun.

The body is in black, the Cyberman is in Berroco Metallix FX silver/black and the sleeves will be in a grey that sort of matches (not quite) the silver. The collar will be, hmm, whatever I feel like when I get there. Probably black, given that it is to be worn by a small boy with a slovenly mother who forgets about bibs until it’s too late.

Cable Scarf

Cable Scarf
Originally uploaded by jwordsmith.

This is the yarn from Shady Side Farm Studio, wot I bought last month at the Knit and Crochet Show.

There are many other things I should be knitting right now, but I needed to play with this. It is delicious. And, much as I like the pattern (from Pieknits) I think I need it to be wider. Might have to frog. But then again, that just means I’ll get to knit this lovely yarn again.

Oh, and by the way, that is a really really big ball of yarn, not an incredibly tiny scarf.

Cyberman Knit

Cyberman Knit
Originally uploaded by jwordsmith.

For those non-Brits out there, this is one of the arch-baddies from Dr Wh, a recently-revived series from the BBC.

I started out to see if I could design a decent Jack Sparrow pirate but suddenly realised the face shape would lend itself very nicely to a the Cyberman.

I have an urge to design lots of cool boy clothes, since most knitting books (and clothes shops) are full of girl:boy clothes in the ratio 4:1 or thereabouts. And the boy stuff mostly consists of sporty-themed clothes or machine-themed clothes. My boys DO like their monster trucks but I want something a little different.

The Cyberman is part one of my plan.

I now have Berroco Metallic FX and Berroco Bling coming from Webs to see what I can do with that (for those not in the know, a Cyberman should be silver).

Slacking For Snowmen

I confess I have made very little progress on my project today, but there were snowmen to be built.

Since I have an almost-three year old and this has been only our second big snow this winter, I feel that Snowmom has to be my other event. So I’m a biathlete (now, why does that sound naughty?).

Must try the toe-up socks on Husband to see if they fit before I proceed any further.

Check in tomorrow to see if I’ve been to frogland with so many other members of the SockTeamUSA, or whether I’ve managed to stay out of the pond…