Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This is Jean Luc Picard, of the USS Entreprise...

Equation for a quick birthday gift, for a sci-fi geek : left over wool + Star Trek fan + technology obsessed = Star Trek pyjama-like knitted phone cover.
The knitting bit was really easy. After all, these Star Alliance uniform aren’t the trickiest to convert into..., well into anything really!... So here, no rocket science involved (poor pun intended).
The phone I’ve made this cover for is a Galaxy model (that one pun isn’t intended though!), but I’m hoping to work out measurements to fit an iPhone/iPod soon, and maybe tablets too... And in other colours than that of the Star Trek Next Generation Commander’s red.

Patrick Stewart, as Commander Jean Luc Picard

Using DK wool from the stash and 3mm straight needles (you can easily translate to double pointed needles I’m sure)
Cast on 24 stitches, using black wool.
Work 2 rows on 2x2 ribs.
Knit 8 rows in stockinette stitch.
Switch to the red wool, and continue in stockinette stitch until the piece measures 27cm from cast on edge.
Switch to black wool, work another 8 rows, and 2 rows in 2X2 ribs.
Cast off. Join sides using mattress stitch. Block.

Like I said, this is the easy bit. To transform this random block of colour into a Commander Jean-Luc Picard’s uniform, I needed to add a few things that are Next Generation specifics. It’s all about the details you know!... To start with, the insignia, the communicator badge for those in the know (that won’t be me by the way!). Using felt sheets and some random silver and gold paint, I managed to do just that in a way that it’s isn’t too bulky and also it is easy to sew it on and/or glue on the cover itself.
Also, another Trekkie I know suggested that I should add the 4 gold “dots” on the top of the black bit, as they are the mark of the rank of Commander Picard. I think. Well, whatever they are, they served me well as I hid a button in, or more like underneath, one of them; creating therefore a wee closing system for the phone cover. 

communicator badge in the making

finished product

Et voilĂ !!! (Commander Picard is French, isn’t he?...)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stuck with a chart design? Call the plumber!

My friend Jess, aka Ginger Twist, is opening her knitting shop. Actually, she has opened her shop TODAY!!! Exciting much? You better believe it...

I like to think that I am a good friend, so I happily offered a hand in sorting some things out for the wee shop. Like painting the outside, moving the stock of wool into the shop and also shelving the wool (I’d like to point out that I am an honest friend too, there was no cheeky skein or ball hidden in my pockets when I left. I promise!)

But also, I am having a go at knitting design for real. As in imagining a design, knit a sample, and nicely type and print the pattern and chart for other people’s use on the computer.
Ginger Twist Studio is selling this beautiful kid mohair, and I was very inspired to make a cowl with it. A cowl with stars. Like a woolly constellation.

Working on the design for the colour chart, my inner geek’s little voice in my head whispered this amazing idea...

Isn’t it so obvious!!! Getting hold of old school Super Mario imagery, I easily transcript the pixel art of the star sprite into my chart. (I do emphasize that it is not a copy and paste of the existing pixel art, it has been amended for my design’s purpose)

I am now in the process of knitting the chart. I am nearly halfway through, and really really pleased with it so far. What do you think?...

I expect the cowl and pattern (which I will name Stellar, after realising that my first choice of name is somewhat unpronounceable) to be on show at Ginger Twist Studio in a couple of weeks. A week to finish the sample, and a week to come to grips with computer programs for the pattern! I’ll keep you posted...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

That sense of accomplishment... (and of relief!)

So I have been away on a few holidays lately.  Two short and a long adventurous one. Which is good, I love travelling and I have had a fantastic time. I’ll take time to tell you more about it some time...

Problem is when going away at length like that, is that all the things that have been started accumulate and just sit there, remain unfinished, on and on and on... And if that wasn’t bad enough I also had to start yet a new project upon my leaving to Africa (that’s the long adventure), because I wanted something small and easy to knit on the train and plane and during airport layovers... It actually helped a great deal keeping myself entertained so great idea there.  But now it’s just sitting along with the other bulkier or more complicated works I have ongoing... Gnnnnn...

I came back to real life and made an executive decision. Time to finish and not start things! Even if my head is overflowing with creativity. I shall be strong and resist temptation to cast on any new stitch what-so-ever!!!
I’m now proud to announce that I have finally finished the cropped jumper started over a month ago maybe two even. I appreciate it is by far the easiest project of the lot, but hey ho you’ve got to give yourself motivation one way or another. And I am well chuffed with this new garment of mine, as much for the sense of achievement as for the fact that it looks pretty cool!

The pattern, Fern, is from the book More Knitting in the Sun. I can still fit a 12 years old size top! Let’s have a bit of cake now...

detail of stitches worked

Onwards now to resume some colour work knitting and to finish these godforsaken Hawaiian shorts... And onwards to introduce mohair to my stash... Wait! What? “New wool”, “starting” something??? Oh well, I have a good reason for that. Other than I am weak faced with crafty inspiration...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

on holidays, slow progress...

Yes yes, I know, it's been a while since my last post. About 2 weeks I think. It's just that these days I have started my holidays and travelling season, so I have other matters on my mind than knitting. "How dare she?!?!" I hear you exclamating! Don't worry, I haven't gone completely off the grid just yet! I am currently in the south of France (again) visiting my family and I have with me a few knitting projects to keep me going.

I am, of course, still working on the Hawaiian Trunks. The progress is slow, I confess. And I won't be finished in time for the boys' birthdays as planned. But it's ok really, it's nearly a tradition with my sister to be really late in the present delivery. Take last Christmas for example. I got my gift from my sis' only early March!
The problems I am encountering with this project at the moment is that the blue cotton that I bought from La Droguerie is quite quite hard to work on the hibiscus flowers colourwork bit, it just won't stay in place in place in my fingers! This is rather annoying, and I must do breathing exercises every 4 or 5 rounds or so to keep me from throwing it all away.
And of course I also forgot to bring the necessary needles to get a move on on the sunset pattern trunks... It's typical, one always has to forget something when one packs for a trip away. And also typically, I have starting using 3.25mm needles, which doesn't seem to exist in France. So for now and this project I am stuck (I have only completed the belt).

Being on holiday at my Mum's for a short time, we couldn't help but to go to every wool shop that we know off in the area. And I didn't resist buying some wool and started working on a cropped jumper for myself. I know it's not fair isle, but it's a cool project still.
(Oh, and talking of my Mum, she knitted this amazing short sleeve cardi in a duck blue mohair blend wool... I've been wearing it constantly for a week! Well, in the evenings; it's been sunny and 25°C and over since I got there last Friday, hee hee.)

Otherwise I am trying to come to terms with some computer programs to create colour charts. Not doing very well here so far, but I won't give up. The same way I'm not giving up on my Hobbit Kindle cover, it's just on hold I promise!

And finally, I've been doing a bit of sewing. All related to knitting too! I have a mind to recycle -or "upcycle"- old t-shirts into knitting bags. And I am having quite some fun with this to tell you the truth! I am looking forward to be able to get myself a sewing machine and make more of these than really is necessary...

So you see, I am away but still am a busy bee with my knitting needles.
The first 3 weeks in May I'll be travelling in Southern Africa (can't wait!) so posts will be scarce then. But I trust you'll forgive me, and be sure that I'll get back on weekly schedule as soon as... So keep patient my friends!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hobbit Kindle cover # 1

Did I ever tell you that I am a nerd?
Well, there’s no hiding this from you anymore...
And it’s well due time that I blend my love for sci-fi and fantasy literature with my obsession with colour work knitting.

For my first nerdy knit creation and colour chart, I chose to make myself a cover for my trusty Kindle. And the inspiration comes from the best of them all, JRR Tolkien. I’ll be keeping the Lord of The Rings aside for a little while for now  -although I do have quite a number of burgeoning ideas in relation to it; so I’ll use The Hobbit instead. And I’m thinking it’s going to be rather straight forward really. Dwarves = runes = straight lines = easy. But is it really? Hell no it isn’t! I have now been working on this chart for a couple of days, and I am pulling my hair a little bit here.

For those of you who are unaware of this classic of literature that is The Hobbit; it tells the story of, duh!,  a hobbit (I don’t need to tell you what a hobbit is surely!) who finds himself embarked on a adventure with a bunch of dwarves thanks to a certain wizard who might just be as famous as Merlin himself by now.  The purpose of the adventure is to reunite the dwarves with an enormous family treasure that is now guarded by a nasty dragon. And because there is a treasure to find, there is a map. Thror’s map. And it is the legend, the key, of this map that I am *trying* to transform into a e-reader/tablet cover. To be more precise, that little bit on the left corner that marks (I quote) “the secret entrance. You see that rune on the West side [of the mountain], and the hand pointing to it from the other runes? That marks a hidden passage to the Lower Halls.”

Thror's map - as printed in my copy of The Hobbit

work in progress

So there you go, or more accurately there I go! Let’s keep working on this idea, the dwarvish runes may not be as easy as I thought to transfer onto a chart, but I’ll soon get there I know. And then onto knitting a cosy and awesome looking cover for my Kindle...  And then when I succeed at this one, perhaps I’ll think about creating more nerdy designs for tablet covers (Harry Potter anyone? Or A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones?)...  
Mmmmmmh, I may be onto something here...