Friday, July 31, 2009

3 Months, 3 Pairs of Socks

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

For my OWL this term in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup, I chose to design and knit sock representing Tonks, Lupin and Teddy.
I decided to start with the Tonks and Lupin socks, then decide what elements of them I thought they would pass on to Teddy. I started by choosing the yarns. I loved that the colors I chose for Tonks and Lupin had names that fit perfectly, Gothic rose for Tonks and dusky aurora for Lupin. I also chose a bubblegum pink yarn for Tonks.
Then, I drew sketches of what I wanted the socks to look like. the top one is Tonks, the bottom, Lupin.
As you can see, I'm not the best artist in the worlds, but it gave me a way to get my thoughts on paper. I wanted to represent their lives from childhood (at the toe) through death (at the top of the cuff).
I thought Tonks would have had a happy childhood. She was bubbly and was the type of girl to have bubblegum pink hair and make friends quickly. I thought about incorporating an H for Hufflepuff, because I think Tonks would be proud to be in Hufflepuff. I wanted to do the heel in Lupin's color to show him meeting her. Then the leg would be a chaotic cable with lace in the middle, since her life with Lupin was hard and she was very strong, yet feminine.
For Lupin, I wanted a light blue toe, with a jagged line when it switched to dark blue, to represent his happy childhood being destroyed by Greyback biting him. Then, four cables representing him, James, Sirius and Peter, followed by a lightning bolt (Harry's attack) and chaos. I wanted the heel to be done in Tonk's color. Then the leg would be a two rope cable (him and Tonks), becoming a three rope cable (adding Teddy). I think Tonks gave him structure.
The next step was to look in stitch dictionaries to try to find something that looked like my sketches. I decided to focus on Tonks first. I found the perfect stitch for the leg. It didn't have cables, but it looked like it did and it had a lace pattern. So, I swatched it. However, my swatch pictures have disappeared. I liked the swatch (both the lace pattern and how the H looked). So I cast on.
Everything went great until the heel.

As you can see, the blue heel looks funny, so I ripped it out and knitted it in pink. As, I knitted them, I decided they were much to busy for the H on the foot. Here are the finished socks.
Even though everyone else who see them, loves them, I don't like these socks. I think they are much to busy.
So, I threw out my plans for Lupin and decided to try to tackle less in a sock. I think the essence of Lupin is that he is a simple, straightforward man, who is trying to fit into a society that hates him because of what he is. This makes his life very chaotic. So, I made socks that can "blend in" to the normal world, but they have cables (to represent the twisted path of Lupin's life) and the cables don't travel in a straight line (to represent the chaos of Lupin's life). These socks went straight from idea, to chart, to sock. I should have swatched the chart, but my thought was that if I didn't like it, I would just rip out and start again. Here they are.
Then, there were the Teddy socks. In some ways these were the hardest, because we really don't get to know Teddy very well, so I had to think a lot about what I think he's like. I decided that he's a lot like his mom. He can change his appearance and he's that type of guy who shows up to see his girlfriend off to school, even if he's going to get teased about it. i decided to use Lupin's coloring, but with a light blue added and decided to do the whole thing in stripes. Stripes are fun and Teddy did not have the chaos that his parents had to deal with. I added a phoenix on the heel of the sock for two reasons. 1) I think Teddy would be very proud of his parents and would want to show his pride in the Order. 2) Teddy is very much like a phoenix, he is something wonderful that comes out of death. If it wasn't for Voldemort and the death eaters, Lupin and Tonks might have never met and I definitely think they wouldn't have gotten married. Teddy is the beauty that can come from challenges.This was a very fun and challenging assignment and I really learned a lot from it. I;m sure I will be creating more patterns soon. These patterns will be available sometime next month on Ravelry.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dyeing with Coffee

For the Divination class in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup this month, I am dyeing some roving with coffee, then spinning and knitting it. This is how I dyed it.
I started with about 3.5 oz. of plain wool roving. I don't know what breed it is. It's some stuff I forgot I had.

I made 3 pots of very strong coffee with about 1/4 vinegar mixed in the water. I used some nasty Folgers decaf that I wouldn't ever drink.
I poured the coffee in my crockpot. This is my dyeing crockpot, but because coffee is drinkable (well maybe not the Folgers decaf) you could use your normal crockpot. I left the coffee to cool for a couple hours (in order to be close to room temperature).
Then, I carefully added the roving into the pot, pushing it down unitl everything was covered. I could have soaked the roving beforehand to insure a more even dye job, but I like my roving/yarn to be kinda blotchy.

I cooked the roving on high for about 4 hours, occasionally checking to see if I liked the color and poking it down into the coffee more. I was very surprised that the color in the coffee didin't exhaust the way dye does

Then, I carefully pulled it out (with my fingers and a wooden spoon) and set it in the bowl to cool.

After it was cool, I filled the sink with room temperature water, carefully put the roving in and squished it around. As you can see, the water turned brown. So, I removed the roving, drained the sink and filled it again. This time the water was clear.
Then, I took the roving out of the sink and carfully squezed (not wrung) it out. Then, I wrapped it in an old bath towel like a roving burrito and walked on it to squeeze mor water out. After that, the roving burrito went in the washing machine on the spin cycle (make sure that it is firmly wrapped in the towel and that the washer is set past the final rinse cycle) The roving is now hanging to dry in my laundry room and should be read to spin in day or two.

If you decide to try this, remember to be nice to your wool or else you will have felt. This means no sudden temperature changes, no boiling the dye water, no agitating the wet wool and no pouring water on top of the wool. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Quidditch Crochet Wristwarmers

Warning-These patterns have not been test crocheted and my crochet skills are not that great, so I'm sure there are mistakes.

Option 1

Using worsted weight yarn
Chain 30 in blue
Join in the round
SC 2 rounds
Change to silver/bronze
SC 4 rounds
Change to blue
SC 3 rounds

Feel free to adjust to use a different weight yarn or to fit your wrist better.

Option 2
Using fingering weight yarn
Chain 50 in blue
Join in the round
SC 2 rounds
Round 3-18 SC 19 SC R chart in silver/bronze SC 19
SC 2 rounds in blue.
Feel free to adjust for different size yarn or to fit your wrist better.

Quidditch Wristwarmer

Warning--This pattern is completely untested and is being written while I am half asleep. The are mistakes somewhere.

Special thank you to Karen (Lykkefanten on Ravelry) for letting me use her R chart.

Yarn should be worsted weight. Gauge should be apx. 5 spi in stockinette

CO 40 sts with blue yarn
Rounds 1-5 [k2,p2] till end
Rounds 6-23 Knit
Rounds 24-29 [k2,p2] till end
BO in pattern

Using sliver/bronze yarn, duplicate stitch R chart onto the stockinette section.
Feel free to do chart in intarsia instead of duplicate stitch and to adjust pattern to fit your wrist better or change the size of yarn.

Quidditch Gloves

Warning-This pattern has not been tested and has been tweaked slightly since I knit it. This is the first pattern I have written. I started writing it yesterday around 11 PM. So, I guarantee it has mistakes somewhere. I knit mine out of fingering weight yarn on US size 0 needles, but I knit loosely, so that is about a 1 or 1 1/2 for "normal" knitters. Due to the ribbing, it should fit just about anyone if done in a fingering or sport weight yarn on a size 1 to 3 US.

Click on the charts to enlarge them.

If you are knitting this for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team you can either knit the entire pattern in a variegated yarn that contains both house colors or knit chart A in silver/bronze and all other charts in blue.

CO 62 sts
Join being careful not to twist
Knit Chart A

Knit Chart B 4 or 5 times depending on the length you want your gloves.
For Right hand glove, Knit Chart C
For Left hand glove, Knit Chart D

Note on Charts C and D, where the * appears, knit 9 sts onto waste yarn. Slip those 9 sts back onto the left needle. Knit those 9 sts normally.

Knit Chart A

BO in pattern

For thumb, unravel waste yarn putting live sts onto 2 dpns. Knit across 1st needle. Pick up 2 sts. Knit across 2nd needle. Pick up 2 sts.
Knit 5 rounds.
BO loosely.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Normally, I don't really do the whole New Year's resolution thing, but I have a couple things for this year. I joined a group of people on Ravelry who are all trying to read/listen to at least 52 books this year. I used to read far more than that, but now knit and read blogs. So, I'm giving it a shot. I'm going to try to finish 52 books this year. I'm partway into 1 book and 3 audio books and I want those to count.

I'm also going to try to blog more and let my long distance friends know that I have a blog, so they will quit wondering if I fell off the face of the earth.

I'm going to keep track of how much yarn I knit this year. This isn't a goal, it just sound like something fun to do.

We will be doing another no spend period of time and I will be getting back on the fly lady wagon soon, but Christmas isn't over until I visit my family next week and I can't try to put my house back together until after Christmas is over. There are still 3 presents left to finish, plus wrapping and packing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Wonderful Husband

See that beautiful yarn. It is my Christmas present from Darren. He is such a sweet husband. I saw this yarn last Saturday at Ancient Pathways, while we were there knitting and fell in love with it. It is 880 yards of lace weight wool, hand dyed by Meg (the owner of Ancient Pathways). The picture doesn't do the yarn justice. It is very dark purple and black and will make a beautiful shawl. Anyway, I told Darren I loved the yarn and I thought about buying it, but was good and put it back. That night, he sent Meg a PM to have her hold it for him, so he could pick it up on Tuesday. He gave it to me Tuesday night because he was afraid that someone would mention that he had been in the store without me. Isn't he the sweetest thing. This was after I thought we had agreed that my Christmas present was going to be the much more practical bamboo needle set on Ebay. He told me to go ahead and buy the needles for him for Christmas, even though he is getting a pair of socks (which will be knitted by spring.) Isn't he the best.