Well, so much for the idea that a blog would have me writing regularly, given almost two months since my last post. No, wait, that’s not quite true – I have been scribbling on-and-off, in a non-tech variety (i.e.: pen to paper) during the last couple of months. My knitting has grown quite a bit – not so much food-wise (still trying to grudgingly figure out the yarn-artichoke pattern *gripe*), but I have developed a series of crocheted coasters – and I made a first sale of a set of four dog-themed coasters. Seen below, this set was done by crocheting in a single, circular manner using a regular square coaster as a guide. For a more specific measurement, I would say each coaster was about four inches across.
For the ears, I played around with different knitting and crochet techniques (or a combination ‘cro-knit’ technique). For the pointy-tipped ears, I cast on stitches from the top-left and top-right edges on to the crochet hook, changed to a similar-sized set of double-pointed knitting needles, and proceeded to knit as many rows I felt I needed to obtain a good dog-ear shape – decreasing every other row to get the pointy shape, but ending with at least three stitches on the needle to get a more rounded tip.
Please excuse the non-technical explanation. Frankly, this is a bit how my brain works when I create new designs, figuring it out as I fumble with a crochet hook and/or knitting needles and yarn. I should point out that I’ve unravelled and re-started numerous times in order to get to a finished design that I can work with. The dog ears were especially tricky, given that different breeds have different kinds of ears.
For the long, flappy ears, I cast on stitches going down the circle, changed to a pair of double-pointed knitting needles, and proceeded to knit-purl-knit-purl my way across, then picking up one stitch at the end before flipping over. For the following row, I worked in the seed stitch pattern (purl-knit-purl-knit) and knit (or purled) the last two stitches together. Then, for the following row, I would knit (or purl) the first two stitches, and continue in seed stitch until the end, and (again) cast on from the circle’s edge – and here, I played around with casting one more than one (usually two cast-ons, but sometimes three), to see how that would effect the look of the flappy ear. Don’t ask me about the final design specifications – I basically gave myself a general guide and ‘eyeballed’ the finished product.
I’ve also been playing around with a cat-theme coaster design (not pictured), which I realize is much easier, given that cats have, essentially, the same face shape (and pointy ears). However, I may figure out patterns for different cat breeds some day (i.e.: Scottish folds, with the rounded, curled ears).
For the yarn, I basically used whatever I had in my stash that was dog (and cat) coloured (hence, the neutral tones). I think most of these are acrylic (or possibly acrylic blends) and on the more ‘chunky’ side. I wanted the base to be a nice thickness. I also wanted it to be a bit stiff, but still malleable to make sure the coaster lays flat, so that the actual mug could sit on it evenly.
For the back-side of the coasters, I used some shelf liner fabric, which I cut to fit each coaster shape, and sewed it along the back edge of the coaster using embroidery thread. The dog’s face, as shown, are basically embroidered with another neutral yarn, but I did play around with noses 🙂
I will have some photos of my cat coasters in a later post. I have also been working on various patterns for mug cozies, dishcloths, and baby booties. I would like to eventually try sock knitting, but I’ve reasoned (at least to myself) that baby socks (‘sockettes’?) seem like an easy (rather, ‘easier’) objective to start.
Lately, I’ve been knitting from the book, Knit Your Own Boyfriend, by Carol Meldrum – garnering plenty of giggles among my group of knitting and non-knitting friends. Photos will follow, once I figure out the pattern to give the dude a pair of trousers. The book does give templates for all clothing and accessories, but the book doesn’t give specific measurements, nor provide specific yarns and needles used; as such, my boyfriend looks a bit bigger than the ones pictured in the book. I used a sort of medium-thick acrylic yarn and, following the pattern correctly for body, legs, arms, neck and head, the dude stands about eight to 10 inches long. I should point out that this is the “tall, slim” pattern – Carol Meldrum also provides a version for the “short, stocky” boyfriend to give you the option of creating a boyfriend with a tummy (beer gut?) … Hmmm…. I think mine already has a bit of a tummy, but that’s more due to the stuffing and shaping than the knitting. And in seaming it all together, I’ve given him a somewhat protruding spinal column, plus a semblance of a bum (teehee!) … Oh well… I have yet to figure out how to seam my knitted projects smoothly. I have managed to knit him a nifty crew-neck sweater – white front and back, grey sleeves – slightly short sleeves, but I like to think it’s the trendy 3/4 sleeves that’s so popular these days, and not the fact that this dude has somewhat long-ish arms. But oh well (yet again), at least he looks proportionate.