Archives for posts with tag: afterthought

A brief aside: If you’re not a fan of Dr. Who, this project may be a little baffling to you unless you take a few minutes to read this and this. Primary reference: the Dalek episode, this scene.

Pattern: EXTERMIKNIT! (rav link to project) partially using the New Paradigm Dalek mods
Yarn used: Various washable scraps left over from making other toys: the pink and white yarns are Caron Simply Soft in Soft Pink 9719 and Natural 0002, the pale blue is Cascade Sierra in some light blue color, and the brown is Vanna’s Choice in 126 Chocolate

Needles used: Forgot to write this down! Probably something like a size 5, to get a tight fabric.

Date started: August 24, 2010

Date completed: September 22, 2010

Mods/Notes:
Here is my Dalek at rest. I knit most of this according to pattern, and used the New Paradigm mods for the top half, mostly, to account for having more brown yarn than blue. I switched to white yarn in the least visible areas (inside pocket, bottom of Dalek) because I was running low on both brown and blue. It’s stuffed with scraps of fabric, which gives it a good heft and density compared to polyfil.

The keen-eyed among you will notice the zipper around its front panel–a detail not present in the original pattern.

What could be inside?

Do I see… tentacles?

HOLY CRAP

A Kaled mutant, nude!

Here’s the empty chamber:

Knitters, there’s more.

The Dalek compartment was not knit in, but created via a couple of afterthought steeks!

These were my first steeks, believe it or not. I think it went well.

Here’s what I did:
After completing the top of the Dalek as specified, I created an opening in the front by steeking carefully along the vertical line between the knit “instrument panel” and the purled rest of the midsection–just used some sewing shears and cut straight through the middle of the rightmost line of knit stitches, along the entire height of the midsection. I then carefully unraveled the stitches from right to left on the rows above and below the desired door area, to the left end of the “instrument panel”, and placed these two horizontal pairs of exposed stitches on DPNs.

This creates a kind of door flap, hinged vertically along the left-hand side. I sewed down the outer edge of the door with one yarn tail, and used a sewn bindoff and the other two yarn tails to fasten the top and bottom of the door flap. The door flap was now bound off and would not unravel.

I picked up stitches on the other side of the steek (the stitches along the body, the rightmost edge of the “door frame”), knit along the held stitches exposed by the unraveled yarn below the door (held on DPN), picked up stitches along the “hinge” of the door, and knit across the remaining exposed stitches on the other DPN above the door.

From there, I knit in the round until I ran out of brown yarn, maybe 1/2 inch or so, then switched to white to knit the back of the panel, decreasing at the four corners by working k1, k2tog at the beginning of each needle and ssk at the end, and throwing in a plain round every now and then, until I was down to about 6 sts. I pulled the yarn tail through these last few sts to close it up. This created the inside compartment and also took care of the exposed stitches around the door frame so they would not unravel.

The Kaled mutant inside was knit as follows:
CO 3 sts in pink yarn, knit 2 inches of i-cord, cut yarn leaving a tail, slip live stitches off DPN onto waste yarn and set aside. Repeat till you have 6 tentacles, then put the live stitches all back on DPNs (2 tentacles per DPN, 3 DPNs + 1 working needle) and knit in the round for another 2 inches or so. K2tog around, knit another couple of rounds, k2tog around, cut yarn and draw through. Pull all the yarn ends but one to the inside of the Dalek’s body as stuffing. Use the last yarn end to sew up the base of the Dalek, and weave in the end.
For the eye, work back and forth:
1) CO 1 st in white
2) K1fb
3) K1, M1 (lifted), K1
4) Purl
5) K1, M1, K1, M1, K1
6) Purl
7) K5
8) Purl
9) K2tog, K1, K2tog
10) Purl
11) K2tog, K1
12) P2tog
Cut yarn, leaving a tail, and draw through the last st.
Embroider a pupil with a scrap of dark yarn.
Applique the eye to the body, hiding the pupil yarn tails behind the eyeball.

I had originally intended to close the instrument panel with just a button, snap, or hook and eye, but I found that the door lost all shape so I had to put in a zipper–probably a 6” or 8”, normal, non-separating zipper would be good; I shortened an existing longer one I had on hand. I used a normal sewing needle and matching thread to sew the zipper to the Dalek casing with a running stitch, first the outer edge of the closed zipper around the outside edges of the door, then pulling and stretching the door to fit to the inner side of the zipper.

I gave this to my stepdad for his 60th birthday and it was a big hit! And my little sister drew him an awesome matching Dr. Who birthday card featuring a Dalek and Christopher Eccleston.

A couple of notes about the pattern:

  • It makes a MUCH bigger Dalek than you might expect. Very cuddly! I think it was something like a foot high. You can see it next to some chairs at the airport in the posted photos, for scale.
  • The pattern is written in sort of an odd way (it would be easier to work from a chart where you can see how the ribbing stacks up, but all the knits and purls are written out)
  • I found the tuck stitch instructions confusing; when they say “the stitch 3 rows below”, that means below the turning row, not the current row.

Here are a couple of pictures of the Dalek making a new friend. More about the friend later.
EXTERMINATE?

FRIEND

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Those guys from Firefly would have looked a lot less sinister if they had worn blue mittens instead of gloves. Like these.


Pattern: Bodhi Mittens, from RiverPoet Designs

Size made: Medium, knit to the length suggested for Small

Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Azul Profundo for the outer mitten and inner cuff (every last bit of one skein); Plymouth Royal Cashmere DK in Sage for the lining, about 90 yards/30 grams (I have about 20 grams left). I bought the Malabrigo at Stitches West in February and the cashmere, from DBNY, has been sitting in my stash for years now, periodically being swatched and frogged–somehow I just never found an application that seemed right for it until now. I think it’s a cabled yarn (multiple two-plies plied together) so it is a bit ropier-looking than you might expect 100% cashmere to be.

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm (magic loop for the main mitten, magic loop two at a time for the linings, DPNs for the thumbs of both shell and lining)

Date started: First mitten: June 6. Second mitten: June 16. Linings: June 18.

Date completed: First mitten: June 8. Second mitten: June 18. Linings: June 21.

Mods/Notes: I’ve been admiring this pattern for a bit; it’s not too well known, I think, but I saw a few FOs and KALs going on in the Malabrigo Junkies group, and I had wanted to cast on for these during Malabrigo March but just felt like I couldn’t commit to another WIP at the time. I brought the pattern and yarn with me when I went to Boston, and completed the first mitten there in just a couple of evenings. Worsted weight, non-stranded mittens are so gloriously fast!

I cast on for the size Medium (using a tubular CO) but realized as I neared completion on the hand that I would only need to knit it to the length specified for Small. I probably should have chosen the size Small to knit to begin with, in fact, because the fit was a bit roomy. The underside of the cuff is knit in seed stitch, which looks really sharp but obviously doesn’t draw in at all. So the wrist was outright baggy, and the rest of the hand was a little looser than I wanted.

To remedy this, and counteract the relatively thin and holey single-stranded fabric, I decided to knit linings for the mittens. I thought for a while about how to do it, and I think I got it almost right. I decided to use the rest of the Malabrigo to knit ribbed cuffs for the lining–it seemed perfect to have a combination of ribbing to draw it in tight against my skin, and the thicker worsted weight yarn to fill in as much of the empty space as possible. I was also worried that a) the cashmere would show if I used it to knit the cuff, b) it wouldn’t have as much elasticity as the merino, so the ribbing would sag, and c) it wouldn’t have as much body as the merino, so cold air would get up into the mitten.

I picked up stitches around the wrist edge, right side facing, at a 1 to 1 ratio (destroying my lovely tubular cast-on in the process). This is the only thing I think I might have done differently–if I’d planned ahead I would have done a provisional CO, and otherwise I might have picked up with the WS facing to create a purl ridge on the outside for a turning row, so the cuff could be folded in with a nice sharp fold.



I knit in 1×1 rib until I ran out of the Malabrigo. Serendipitously, this took me exactly to the end of the wrist area/beginning of the palm. I switched to the DK weight cashmere, which I chose because the finished fabric would be thinner and presumably would allow enough ease inside the mitten (particularly the thumb) for me to bend my fingers. Using the same needles, I knit in stockinette (RS facing), following the main pattern exactly for stitch and row counts but omitting the patterning on the back of the hand. After I finished the thumbs, and wove in the ends (not much weaving required–long tails can be hidden between the lining and the shell of the mitten) the lining could be turned inside out and pushed up inside the main mitten.

The mittens are extremely thick, warm, and cozy now. I was concerned at first about the little holes formed at the base of each blossom motif–holes in a mitten are no good for a Wisconsin winter!–but the linings will counteract those nicely. It will feel so luxurious to have these secret cashmere linings and gloriously warm hands to look forward to come winter. I love the way the mittens look, too–the flowery bodhi tree motif on the back of the hands is very pretty.

The pattern was nice to work with–I had no issues with it. It could have been condensed (I didn’t read the pages with the visual explanation of the mitten setup, but I can see how they would be helpful; and the left and right mitten instructions were spelled out line by line, instead of having one set of instructions with just the thumb placement reversed).

If I made these again, I would just go with a normal ribbed cuff instead of the seed stitch, even if I were doing the lining again. Seed stitch is pretty, but it looks really poochy in the wrist area.

The instructions provide a couple of methods for working the twist stitches–I used the k2tog variations (i.e. no cable needle).

Have you ever lined mittens? Do you have any tips for sizing, yarn selection, etc.? The sizing on these was easy since the gauge was the same between the shell and lining, but I’ve always been unsure about how to deal with it for stranded mittens. (Easy answer… gauge swatch for the lining in stockinette… but what a pain in the ass.) I’ve read that angora makes a fantastic lining, and I was thinking of experimenting with Kidsilk Haze or a KSH-type light and fuzzy yarn for a low-bulk lining that would still trap a lot of warm air.

Sooo my trip planning is going kind of poorly. One of the airlines I have tickets with (Siem Reap Airways) got blacklisted by the EU for inadequate safety standards and suspended all flights about 6 days after I bought the tickets. Supposedly we can still fly with their parent carrier (but is that any better?) And then tonight, at Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, I broke my glasses! The earpiece just snapped right off. We’re leaving on Monday and tomorrow and Friday we’re supposed to get 6-12 inches of snow, so I’m not sure I want to venture out to the optometrist until the weekend. Not sure what to do about this, and I can’t find my spares. For the moment, I’m supergluing the broken pair back together. Things are not going well!

But I do have something knitting-related that I’m happy about, at least. More than one thing, but I don’t know how many of them I’ll get a chance to write up before I go.

Some background: my absolute favorite mittens are my Bird in Hand mittens (pattern available here.) The only problem is that when it gets down to below zero, like it was here in Madison the other day,

stranded worsted weight knit at a fingering weight gauge, while plenty warm, just isn’t quite warm enough. I wanted a pair of thrummed mittens like the ones I made Rahul (see the guts? I didn’t have a picture of them last time)

but I also wanted to wear my favorite mittens.

So I decided to retrofit my mitts with afterthought thrums!

They are invisible from the outside (aside from the mitten looking a little puffy, and fitting tighter than it used to) and super warm.

Here’s how to do it:
Gather your supplies:

  • one pair of stranded mittens, preferably a pair with more ease in them than mine have,
  • a couple of ounces of nice woolly roving, matching or not–mine is indigo and osage-dyed Corriedale from Handspun by Stefania, and really I should have used the random bright pink and orange roving I have lying around that I’ll never make anything with, rather than the expensive natural-dyed stuff, but I couldn’t resist the matching green. Whatever color you pick, it won’t show. The important thing is that the fibers should be at least a couple of inches long, and have some crimp, so they’ll stay in the mitten. There was a thread on Ravelry about thrummed mittens where someone suggested cashmere thrums. This is a bad idea, because down fibers are so short, they’ll never stay in place. You want something where you can pull off a decent-sized lock.
  • a crochet hook of a decent size (I don’t know much about crochet hook sizing, but I think I used a G hook. Something a reasonable size for worsted-weight yarn)

Turn the mitten inside out.

Pull off a piece of wool about the width of your finger and a few inches long. This is your thrum.

Stick your crochet hook under a couple of floats. Do not go through the main part of the knitted fabric, just under the floats.

Fold the thrum in half and loop the middle over the crochet hook (sorry, this is a little blurry, but you get the idea).

Use the crochet hook to pull the center of the thrum under the floats.

Now go over the floats with the crochet hook and grab the tail ends of the thrum with it…

And pull these through the loop formed by the folded middle of the thrum.

Voila, a thrum attached invisibly to the inside of the mitten, after the fact!

Continue to attach thrums evenly across the back of the fabric so you have a nice woolly layer. I have a short attention span and a lot of Christmas knitting to do, so my mittens are still pretty much in the partially-thrummed state you see below, but it has really improved their insulating powers. (For one mitt. I have part of one mitt thrummed. But on Monday I will be in a place where it’s 80 degrees out, so I’m not in a huge hurry to get this done.)

Pretty awesome, right?

I hope this trick is useful to my fellow knitters in similarly fiercely cold climates!