Notebook Covers - Valentines 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011
Every Valentines I make a little gift for the girls in my life. For Mother's Day, Sarah sent me a cut of fabric with this adorable heart print -- I just had to find a project for it! About 3 months before February 14th, I start trolling through saved links, Google searches, craft books and any other inspirational source I can think of to find just the right idea to convert into a handmade valentine goodie .

The quest this year culminated with the idea to cover mini-notebooks with the heart fabric. I found the perfect size (3¼" x 4½ ") notebook at Staples and backed each cover with muslin. I stitched across the top and bottom when turning the flaps. Very little fabric was needed for each cover and I still have plenty of this adorable fabric left over for another day!

Little Lamb Sock Critter

Thursday, February 24, 2011
This Little Lamb Sock Critter pattern is free over at Lion Brand Yarns. I was attracted to it because of the textured pattern of the body and the interesting way the technique for knitting a sock heel was used for the face and head. However, I knew from the beginning I was going to have to make adjustments because the original pattern looked more like a rat than a lamb. I made two lambs and gave both away but I'm in love with the finished results and thinking about making one for myself!

Pattern Corrections:
There are two errata to the written pattern:
1) When working the leg of the lamb Row 17 is actually the right side and not the wrong side.
2) The pattern has both written and charted instructions but the written instructions for Row 4 of the body is blank - it should read: (K1, P1) 7 times, K2, P2, K2, P1, K1, P2, (K1, P1) 5 times.

Update: Since this post, these corrections have been made on the Lion Brand pattern page.

My Changes:
These are the things I did to morph a rat into a lamb:
1) I did use Wool-Ease Yarn but I substituted the color "Natural Heather" for "Fisherman".
2) I used 9mm safety eyes.
3) I embroidered a V nose in place of a felt circle (see photo for placement).
4) I cut the size of the tail exactly in half (instead of casting on 16 stitches, I cast on 8).
5) I made no changes to the knit pattern for the arms and ears, however, the biggest change in the whole pattern was how I attached them,.
     a. Once the ears were knit (and before attaching it to the head) I stitched them closed by "layering" the front and back. By this I mean I didn't press the ear together and stitch it - I pushed 1/2 of the circle a little lower than the other and then stitched closed, this reduced a great deal of bulk. After that, I stitched the ears flat to head so that they hang down the side of the face (see photo for placement). It's the ears that make the lamb look like a lamb and not a rat. So pay attention to the ears (unless you want a rat!)
      b. I did not stitch the ends of the arms closed before attaching. In fact, I stitched them down to the body in a skinny oval at the side of the body. This change to the arms doesn't really make the lamb look less like a rat but I liked it better and felt it matched the look of the legs.
     c. I didn't stitch a straight line across the lower edge of the body just above the top of legs (to allow the lamb to sit). This was personal preference only.

Ravelry Project Page - Little Lamb Sock Critter

Baby Fern Lace Cowl

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Almost a year ago I took a yarn hand-dying class at Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge. Along with a couple samples, I dyed 4 skeins of sock yarn (see photo below). I finally got around to knitting something with one of the skeins!

The pattern is the Baby Fern Lace Hood/Hat/Cowl by Allyson Ryan and it's a free pattern over at Ravelry

It was a fast, fun and relatively easy to knit once I made the stitch change noted below.

  • 117 stitches has a 13 times repeat not the 16 noted in the pattern. (This has been corrected in the latest available version of the pattern.)
  • The pattern defines a SSK as "slip 1 stitch purl wise, knit next stitch and pass slipped stitch over (left slant)". but that definition is really for a sl1, k1, psso. I chose to do an actual SSK but an "improved" version which is: "Slip one stitch as if to knit, slip the next stitch as if to purl, knit the two together through the back loops". This is also a left slanting decrease, lies flatter and was easier to execute with this pattern. (This has been corrected in the latest available version of the pattern.)
  • I used a long-tail cast (essentially a knit row itself) so I started the beginning garter stitch section with a purl row rather than a knit row and eliminated row #8 before starting the repeat.
  • I did a regular bind off but went up a needle size. Both the cast-on and bind-off were loose enough.
  • Finished blocked size (you must block this pattern!) was 18" circumference and a height/length of 26".
  • The yarn is a Superwash Merino/Tencel blend.

    I'm going to knit a pair of socks with one of the remaining skeins but I welcome any suggestions for the other two skeins as well as the two little samples.