Monday, February 28, 2011

Monsieur Moustache

This really has been a long, long project. But at last I've conquered the raindrop! The breakthrough came when I switched from sewing to knitting - thanks to inspiration from Anna Hrachovec's book Knitting Mochimochi.

I am proud to say that this is entirely my design and pattern. And here is it for you to create your own cupboard full of raindrops.

double knitting wool
set of 4 x 4mm (6 US) double-pointed needles
stuffing (and pellets, optional)
felt for moustache (optional)
eyes - buttons, safety eyes, felt, embroidery floss etc

Finished size: About 13 cms (5 inches) tall

beg = beginning
Inc = increase by knitting through the front and back of the stitch
K = knit
tog = together

This is knitted in the round from the bottom up, so you need to add stuffing (and safety eyes) as you go.

To help the raindrop stand, I weighted it by adding plastic stuffing pellets. I put these into a little pouch made from a scrap of light weight fabric. Cut a circle about 14cm (6.5 inches) in diameter, stitch around the edge and then pull the ends of the thread to gather up the circle into a little pocket. Tip in some pellets and stitch closed to form a rough ball shape. I put a bit of stuffing in the bottom of the raindrop and sat the pellet "ball" on top, then pushed stuffing in all around it.

Cast on 6 sts and K 1 row.
Divide the sts equally between 3 needles.
1st round: Inc in every st (12 sts)
2nd and alternate rounds: K
3rd round: Inc. in every st (24 sts)
5th round: (Inc., k3), repeat to end (30 sts)
7th round: (Inc., k 4), repeat to end
9th round: (Inc., k 5), repeat to end
11th round: (Inc., k6), repeat to end
13th round (Inc., k7), repeat to end
15th round (Inc., k8) repeat to end (60 sts)
K 3 rounds without shaping
19th round: (K2 tog, k8) repeat to end
21st round: (K2 tog, k7) repeat to end (48 sts)
23rd round: *K2 tog at beg and end of each needle.
K 2 rounds, without shaping*
Repeat from * to * 2 more times (30 sts)
Next round: **K2 tog at beg and end of each needle.
K3 rounds, without shaping**
Repeat from ** to ** 2 more times (12 sts)
Next round: K2 tog to end
K 1 round, without shaping
Next round: K2 tog to end (3 sts)
Break wool and thread through remaining 3 sts. Weave in the end.

I have tested this pattern - but only once. So if there are any errors, please let me know.
And, if you do make a raindrop for yourself - I'd love to see it. Happy knitting.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tea towel project #2

I worried about this project for a long time - unnecessarily, as it turned out. It's the first time I've attempted a bag and think I was anxious about wasting the tea towel on a bag that didn't turn out. But I'm really pleased with the result. I lined it with a fairly stiff cotton to give it a bit of strength and added an inside pocket. I used an acrylic webbing for the handles.

I think it's the folded corners that lift it above the average bookbag. Happy zombie has a good, free down-loadable PDF tutorial for a slightly more complicated bag that shows how to do the corners, if you fancy making one yourself.

Also Kaoru Ishikawa's book 'Vintage fabric accessories' has many inspiring bags complete with instructions and patterns.

Don't forget that February is your chance to stop drinking alcohol for 28 days. If you register, you could help raise funds to support programmes helping reduce alcohol and other drug related harms amongst young people.