Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rose and the Dalek

so i have this friend... and she is a fellow whovian.  over the years our friendship has included marathon viewings, big screen 50th anniversary specials, and, of course, doctor-themed gifts.

when her daughter was born, she decided to call her by her middle name: rose.

so what is more natural than making a whovian dress for rose that looks like a dalek?

taking my inspiration from other dalek themed projects on ravelry, i created a simple toddler jumper, basically winging it in terms of number of stitches and length and all that other stuff.  (and by winging it, i mean looking at dozens of other toddler dresses and seeing the basic dimensions and doing a lot of math and then hoping that it would all turn out right in the end)

so here is the pattern for that creation, which can also be found in pdf version on ravelry:


Rose and the Dalek

2 balls MC (Caron Simply Soft in Light Country Blue shown)
1 ball CC (Caron Simply Soft in Black shown)
Size 7 circular needles (24 inch)
Tapestry Needle
mb (Make bobble):
with CC, kfb into same stitch until 5 sts on needle; turn
P across; turn
K across; turn
P across; turn
K across; do not turn
Lift second st over first st; repeat until only 1 CC st left on needle

Skpsso: slip 1 stitch knitwise, Knit the next stitch, pass the slipped stitch over the knit one (dec 1)

CO 140 in CC; join to work in the round – 4 rounds garter stitch as follows:
Rows 1 & 3: Knit around
Rows 2 & 4: Purl around

***Do not cut CC – carry up the rounds instead.  This will keep you from having to weave in CC ends into MC fabric on the bobble rows ***

Change to MC
Knit 4 rounds even – PM after 70 sts in first round
Rounds 5-7: *K9, P1* Repeat from * around

Begin Dalek Body – in rounds 8-68, follow the following
Repeat only from [ to ] the number of times indicated
Repeat from * to * once more to finish round

Round 8: *K2tog, K2, mb, K4, P1 [K4 mb K4 P1] 5 times, K4 mb, K2, P2tog*
Rounds 9-15: *K8, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K8, P1*
Round 16: *K2tog, K6, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K7, P2tog*
Rounds 17-23: *K7, P1 [K9 P1] 5 times, K7, P1*
Round 24: *K2tog, mb, K4, P1 [K4 mb K4 P1] 5 times, K4 mb K1 P2tog*
Rounds 25-31: *K6, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K6, P1*
Round 32: *K2tog, K4, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K5, P2tog*
Rounds 33-39: *K5, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K5, P1*
Round 40: *K2tog, K3, P1 [K4, mb, K4, P1] 5 times, K4, K2tog, transfer stitch back to Left needle, mb*
Rounds 41-47: *K4, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K5*
Round 48: *K2tog, K2, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K3, skpsso*
Rounds 49-55: *K3, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K4*
Round 56: *K2tog, K1, P1 [K4, mb, K4, P1] 5 times, K2, K2tog, transfer stitch back to Left needle, mb*
Rounds 57-59: *K2, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K3*
Round 60: *K2tog, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K1, K2tog*
Rounds 61-63: *K1, P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K2*
Round 64: *P2tog [K9, P1] 5 times, K2tog*
Rounds 65-67: *P1 [K9, P1] 5 times, K1*
Round 68: K2tog, K8, P1 [K9, P1] 4 times, K9, P2tog*

Change to CC – 4 Rounds garter stitch
Rounds 69 & 71: Knit around
Rounds 70 &72: Purl around

Begin Dalek top
Change to MC
Knit 6 rounds even
Next 12 rounds (2x2 “windows”): *K2 MC, K2 CC*  Repeat to end of round
Knit 4 rounds even
Change to CC & work 4 rounds garter stitch (K1 round, P1 round, K1 round, P1 round)
Bind off all sts

Straps (make 2)
CO 8 sts
Knit 103 rows or until desired length is reached
Bind off

Attach straps as desired
Weave in all ends
Wash and block if you like

Designed by Jen A. Martin.  Feel free to sell the finished product, but do not sell the pattern.  Thank you!

Monday, March 10, 2014

remember that time you asked me for...

i love making things for people.  really i do.  and when friends ask me for things, i always say "of course!  just as soon as i have a break from babies and weddings..." because let's face it - people keep getting married and having babies around me.

so deadlines like that always take precedence.  and except for the couple of weddings that are super duper overdue - namely my bff and my sister - i'm usually pretty on top of those.

this year, i have a little lag time though.  the next wedding i have to make something for is not until june, so i had some time to work on those projects that people have asked me for over the years...

i started with a hat for my cousin's baby:

and then some legwarmers that i've been promising a friend for a couple years now:

and a snood for my cousin - it's not the pattern i wanted, but when i tried to get to that pattern it was a block on my computer and i couldn't get it, and so i finally gave up and chose a different pattern:

and then i designed a darling little dalek dress of my own creation for my friend's little girl:

it feels so good to be doing this.  to be giving people things they asked for rather than things they never knew they wanted.  i hope i remember everything i told people i'd make for them!

ps: if you are interested in the pattern for the dalek dress, i'm still working it up.  i'll try and have it published asap :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

on the decision to join a gym

so, friends, i did it.  i spent the money.  i joined a gym.  i'm now a gym member.  i know, i know -  i belong to a gym for free at school, so why would i spend the money?  quite honesly, i don't go to the one at school.  for a couple weeks i decided i was going to go down and run on the treadmill every other day.  and i did.  until the day when the basketball team was working out at the same time and i decided that the shame of running next to a team full of swaggering college basketball players wasn't my style.  then i signed up for classes at school.  and i went, for a while.  until meetings and paperwork got in the way.  the gym doesn't open til 9, which is when i generally like to be at my desk working, so going in the morning sucks, and at the end of the work day i just want to get out of the building usually.  plus, 4:00 is a bad time to go to a class.

so when my friend said "you should come to yoga with me," i thought long and hard about what that would mean.  this particular friend is very motivated, and good at nagging (the good kind of nagging) me to do things.  she can usually talk me into things, even when i don't particularly want to do them.  and if she is going to 3-4 classes per week, surely i can find the time to do at least 2 of them with her.

and there it was.  i joined a gym.  it's not as expensive as the last time i was a gym member, but it's not free.  so i'd better go this time.  i'm even thinking of buying a swimsuit so that i can use the pool when my hip is bothering me.  so far i went to yoga on monday and felt better after, and then skipped zumba last night because my friend is sick and i have this book that i'm so almost done with and it's getting really good... sigh... it's a slow start for me and the fitness world, but i'm feeling like i need to do something.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Totally Indulgent

so i've been selfish lately.  like, really selfish.  i decided that i was going to knit a project that was totally and completely for me, and no one else.  i'm not gonna lie... i felt guilty.  i'm so used to knitting as a gift that i couldn't wrap my brain around knitting for myself.  "but jen, what about all those things on your list to give as gifts?  shouldn't you be thinking ahead to christmas?"  but i decided that it was time.  my office is cold, and i wanted something lovely for me and no one else.

so i decided a wrap of some kind.  wait, that's a lie.  i knew right from the start what i wanted to make.  see, i had fallen in love with the rockefeller by stephen west last summer, when it was everywhere at the young's dairy wool gathering.
(c) westknits via ravelry

so many people were wearing it, and it was gorgeous.  my favorite kind of thing.  the geometric patterns, the beautiful contrast, the right kind of shaping.  perfect.  the only problem was that i don't like working in fingering weight yarn.  so, i thought, it's a shawl.  sizing isn't super important.  i'll just use my leftover caron and go up a couple needle sizes.  so i did.  and i was happy.  for the first part of the pattern, and even about halfway through the second.

then, there was just too much fabric to keep on my size 6 circulars that i already owned.  and i got stuck.  i couldn't go on until i got bigger circulars, and i was really tired of spending the money to buy the individual needles.  so that brought me to my second indulgence.

the takumi interchangeable bamboo circular set. 

 i've been eyeing this set for over a year now, waiting until i had the justification and the money to buy it.  the stars were in alignment for me.  it was on sale, and i had gift cards, and i had enough bonus cash back on my credit card that i could order them at a cost of only $6 out of pocket.  i was a happy girl.

the day they came in the mail, i started using them on my rockefeller.  i was in heaven.  love them.  the only caveat is that they come unscrewed a little bit sometimes at the join, but if you pay attention and catch it it's not a huge deal.  (people really rag on them for this in the comments on amazon, but for this price, it's not the end of the world if you have to re-tighten them every once in a while)  anyway... so i finished the second part of the pattern, and suffered through the 330 stitch i-cord bind off.  it should be illegal for the i-cord to be used for any pattern over 20 stitches.  it's a beautiful beautiful bind off, and i love it.  but it took me over 2 hours to use it on those 330 stitches.

then came the wings.  oh the wings.  i nearly hated the whole project because of the wings.  i heavily modified the progression of the wings, because i nearly hated the whole project.  the wings start with something like 85 stitches on the needles.  and they decrease 1 stitch every 4 rows until you get down to 9 stitches.  it. was. so. boring. and, since i had gone up a couple yarn weights and needle sizes, the wings were ridiculous.  so i started doing 2 decreased stitches every four rows.  even that was too much.  the first wing i finished off when there were 15 stitches left on the needles.  just a quick i-cord bind off and i was done with that wing.  the second wing i got even worse.  i started decreasing 4 stitches over 4 rows and bound off when i had 10 on the needles.  i hated all the stripes.  i hated the wings.  i hated the whole dumb project.

then the most amazing thing happened.  it was finished.  and it was beautiful again.  i loved it again.  i have this perfect, warm, happy-making wrap all of my own.  and i wanted to show off to everyone.

i indulged my need for something of my own and my desire for the interchangeable needles.  i am a happy knitter.  and now i will return to the world in which i make lovely things for other people.  for a while.  until i need to indulge myself again.

Friday, January 31, 2014

anyone for waffles?

this year for christmas, my super awesome and amazing friends got me a super awesome and amazing waffle iron.  this is probably because, for years, i have complained and complained that i didn't have a waffle iron.  so they finally got sick of my complaint, and got me the Cadillac of waffle irons:

 that, ladies and gents, is the calphalon no peek waffle maker.  it has bronze non stick plates, an illuminated dial that tells you when the waffle is done to your specified setting (light, medium or dark), and a pleasant chime that goes off when the waffle is done.  by all accounts this is the best waffle maker in it's price range, and should make beautiful, delicious waffles with very small margin for operator error.

apparently i am that margin.  my ability to make ugly food extends far beyond foolproof equipment and into an entirely new plane of ugliness... because when i used my super awesome and amazing waffle iron, here is what came out...

even j couldn't fix the damage that had been done... the ugly food curse has claimed another victim.  i don't know what happened.  i followed the directions on the mix and the waffle iron.  i'm just cursed.  and the sad thing is, they weren't even that delicious.  luckily... the day was saved by my mother, who had given us a care package of home cooked food for christmas... mom's spaghetti and meatballs?  yes please.

and there on the right of that plate?  my very own homemade garlic parmesan bread, made in my other awesome christmas gift: my brand new bread maker!!!  there seems to have been a theme to my christmas.  i'm glad the people i love know me so well.  anyway, that's all for this edition of "adventures in ugleefood."  enjoy!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Pattern: Heart Warming Hand Warmers

So word has gotten out at work that I make things.  I don't keep it secret by any means, but the other day our new student worker asked me if I would make her some fingerless gloves and a matching scarf in hot pink and orange.  So I said sure, and we worked out the terms of the deal.
Let me tell you: it is hard to find bright orange yarn that goes with hot pink without spending a fortune on expensive yarn that I only ever buy as a once yearly extravagance for myself.  So I found some Hot Orange Sugar n' Cream to go with the Caron Watermelon, and that meant that I had two different fibers I was working with.  So I needed a pattern that would accomodate two different fibers. This is not so easy to find, as it turns out.  It has to have texture, so no straight stockinette stitches, and the change in fiber can't screw with the drape, so that kind of threw out vertical stripes, cables, or anything that creates texture from sameness.

My search finally led me to the gathered scarf.  It was perfect.  All criteria were met.  The change in fiber could easily happen in the rows that were already supposed to be a different texture and size, and the drape of the stockinette part wouldn't be affected because the pattern CALLED FOR it to cinch in.  Win/Win.  Here is the finished product - not too shabby if I do say so myself:

If you look at it just the right way, it looks like one of the Snowths from the muppets:
Tell me I'm wrong... 

Then came the gloves.  And the same issue arose.  All of the fingerless gloves I found started with ribbing, and I knew that wouldn't cut it with the texture change and all.  So... I designed my own.  And I put a heart on them, because she loves hearts.  So I shall call them my "Heart Warming Hand Warmers".  The heart is added in duplicate stitching at the end, so if you don't want it you can just have some nice, plain hand warmers.  But where's the fun in that?  

Heart Warming Hand Warmers

1 ball each in 2 colors worsted/light worsted weight
shown: Caron Simply Soft in Watermelon (MC) and Lily Sugar n’ Cream in Hot Orange (CC)
US size 5 DPNs
US size 6 DPNs

Mitten (make 2) – both mittens are worked the same. The left will be distinguished from the right by the over stitching that creates the heart shaped pattern on the back of each glove.
CO 36 stitches in CC using size 6 needles and join to work in the round
Rounds 1, 3, and 5: Knit around
Rounds 2, 4, and 6: Purl around
Change to MC and size 5 needles
Round 1: K 5, K2tog, K 10, K2tog, K 10, K2tog, K 5 (3 sts decreased – 33 sts on needles)
Rounds 2-15: K around
Thumb Gusset (Starts in next round)
Round 1: K2, pm, m1, k1, m1, pm, k to end of round (3 sts between markers)
Round 2: K around
Round 3: K2, sm, m1, k3, m1, sm, k to end of round (5 sts between markers)
Round 4: K around
Round 5: K2, sm, m1, k5, m1, sm, k to end of round (7 sts between markers)
Round 6: K around
Continue as above, making one stitch after the first marker and one stitch before the second marker in each odd numbered row, and knitting around the even numbered rows, until…
Round 13: K2, sm, m1, K 13, m1, sm, k to end of round (15 sts between markers)
Round 14: K2, remove marker, slip 15 thumb stitches onto waste yarn, CO 1 stitch in gap using backward loop method, knit remaining stitches in round.  This will connect one side of the gusset to the other, leaving the thumb stitches free on the waste yarn.
Knit around for 12 rounds
Change to CC and size 6 needles
Knit 1 round
Purl 1 round
Knit 1 round
Bind off, weave in ends
Place 15 sts from waste yarn onto size 5 needles
Pick up and knit 2 stitches from the gap at the top of the thumb opening.  This will close the gap on the thumb between the ends of the gusset stitches. Count the 2 stitches as the first two stitches in round 1 of the thumb.
Knit around thumb for 5 rounds
Purl 1 round
Knit 1 round
Bind off, weave in ends.  Make sure to stich any leftover gap closed at the join from the palm to the thumb.

For Heart shape on back of glove, put the glove on to locate the center of the back of the hand, and count 16 stitches from color change, then duplicate stitch in CC, following chart:

All done!  Enjoy your hand warmers J

Designed by Jen A. Martin.  Feel free to sell the finished product, but do not sell the pattern.  Thank you!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

what i did over winter vacation

hey there, cats and kittens... what's new?

besides the year that is...

i know i'm a little late for that joke, as it's been 2014 for half a month now, but i thought i'd throw it out there and see if it stuck.  it pretty much just stunk, didn't it?

anyway, i've been back at work for a week and i'm ready for another vacation.  especially since i've got some big projects that need working on and i have seriously itchy fingers.

but first, let me share with you the projects i finished over the glorious 3 week stretch that we in the education field call "winter break":

2 baby blankets
2 hats
1 small person dress

i was pretty busy, and i love love love the way almost everything came out:

hat number 1 was for j.  he is SUPER picky about his hats and hates anything that has ribbing that touches his head.  so i found this one, which has the superpower that the body of the hat actually contains a second layer created by knitting double the length desired and folding it under.  super warm, and no ribbing around the face:

he likes it enough to actually wear it, so i'm happy 

then came this incredibly adorable little dress.  i found the pattern ages ago and fell absolutely in love with it, but i don't have a little girl so i had to wait until an appropriate time came to make it for a friend's daughter.  it just so happens that a coworker has a daughter who shares the name of the pattern, and i thought it was kismet.  and how much do i love it?  well... 

so much i can't stand it!  i wish i could make one in my size...

next came the blankets.  two of my cousins are having new babies this spring, so i wanted to be sure that each one had a personal blanket.  i don't like the idea that only first born children get special things.  i know there is no real point to having a shower for a second baby because all the big things (stroller, crib, etc) are already in the house, but things like a blankie or a woobie should not only be given to first born children.  this is how kids get complexes, people.  ok maybe not, but i still try to give something to all the kids since i am able to.  
i also don't believe in gender coding by color, nor to i feel like babies have to have all pastels, so i chose bright, vibrant colors for these two.  that's not to say that i don't sometimes use pastels, but i wasn't feeling it this time.  maybe it's because it is winter and i wanted something warm to and bright to look at while i was working in the cold and dreary atmosphere.  maybe it's just because i really like these colors.  no telling really.

finally i decided that i needed a hat.  i gave the last one i made for myself to mom - she admired it and it fit her and how could i say no?  plus it really wasn't long enough to cover my ears all the way so i was going to make myself another one anyway.  so it all worked out.  and then i made myself this one, which is very warm and covers my ears and makes me not freeze to death when i go outside... and there were a couple of days there when i thought i might...

pay no attention to the messy photography work... yarn is my medium, not photos.  so there.

anyway, that was what i made this winter.  i'm working on a project that is terribly selfish right now, and also working on one of my way overdue wedding gifts that will probably turn into a five year anniversary gift at this rate.  cross stitch is slow work, ya'll.  i'm not even kidding.

other than that, it's back to regular old life for me.  i doubt i'll be this productive again for a good long while, but i'm sure there will be other updates on life in general to come soon.  so to the four of  you who read my silly little blog, i'll be back soon :)