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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Works in Progress

This week's primary craft project was crocheting a colony of beanbag rabbits, which are part of a birthday gift for a friend's 2yo (party tomorrow). I finished embroidering their faces today, and decided to turn the rest of the pink skein (bunny noses) into something lovely. So I started knitting a hat for another friend's daughter.

The bunnies will find a home in a clever little carrot bag (pattern in this book) that I sewed this week. I still have some finishing work to do on it, but as this is a resurrection of a previous craft it's safe to say that the finished kit will look like its predecessor:

Counting/Color Toy, Mark 1
The hat is a top-down beret. It's my first project using the Magic Loop method, which I've tried and abandoned before after deeming it too clumsy. No worries; I am pretty handy (and perfectly happy) with a fistful of DPNs. A recent trip to Natural Stitches and a purchase of some better-quality circular needles, however, has ignited my ambition to dive in to this technique.

My experience with circular needles thus far is limited to Boye (cheap!), Susan Bates Quicksilver (distressingly "grabby" with most yarns I've tried), Addi Turbo (My most expensive set. They're incredibly nice for lace, but mine isn't well-suited to ML because of length), and now my new ChiaoGoo needles. I am smitten with the ChiaoGoo. The cables are freakishly smooth and have little to no memory, and a very smooth join to the bamboo needles. These and the Cascade 220 yarn I'm using (OMG soft!) have me not wanting to put this project down. What a difference good materials make!

The beret is kind of free-form, based on several "recipes" and good old fashioned guesswork. I'm intentionally making it too big and plan to "full" it in the washing machine to produce a denser finished fabric, to minimize flop and make a more sculpted piece. I hope. This will be my first attempt at intentional fulling, and my first time using the new high-efficiency washing machine to do so. Wish me luck!

And finally, although I haven't worked on this little guy in a week or so, I suppose that Sheldon deserves mention as another current WIP.

He'll be much cuter when he has legs. And a shell. :)


  1. I actually adore magic loop. I have modified almost every dpn patter to use it. Though I think my hatred for dpns comes largely from the fact that all but one set of my dpns are a million miles long. Really hard to knit with a needle thats like 2 feet long that only has 5 stitches or so on it. (I have a bamboo set my sister gave me that are significantly shorter- those I like!)

    The bunnies and carrot are cute! And do you have a pattern for the turtle? I have an almost 7 year old who LOVES turtles (and crabs, and scorpions...) I am thinking something like that would make a good chanukkah present!

  2. Hi Rachel! The Sheldon pattern, which I'd assumed was at the author's site (and actually may be, but a 10-second scan failed to find it, LOL) is available at knitty:

    DPNs took a while for me to get used to. I can see how the long ones would make you nuts. Mine are mostly 7 inches or so. For me the issue is when a pattern requires 4 holding needles (which means a 5th, working needle, for moving stitches) and most DPNs are sold in sets of 4. Duh! Of course, you can *do* most things on 3 (assuming the stitches all fit) but when the pattern uses the needle "numbers" as a reference, then I have to get extra stitch markers involved and it becomes more complicated than it needs to be.

    Then again, I have several sets in my most-used sizes, so WTH am I complaining about!

    I am learning to love Magic Loop. I'm not thrilled with it for small circumference, but once the work grows, it's easier. And I'm getting used to the rhythm of moving from one needle-end to the other, which caused a lot of initial consternation for someone accustomed to working in a literal circle. ;)

    I have a feeling I will continue to use both methods, depending on the project. The extra skills make me feel all badass and knowledgeable. LOL!

  3. OMG Rachel, it just dawned on me...I bet the freakishly long DPNs are for doing FairIsle or other sweater types that are knit in the round and then steeked. (Beyond my bravery level...for now!) Holy crap, that much fabric would get heavy on the needles! But I imagine that's how it has been done. mind is going wild just imagining it.