Friday, April 06, 2012


*dusts down blog, mumbles incoherently into microphone* how's it going knitterm8s? hope you are all well and ting.

Thought this possibly merited a post. I knitted a TV!

A friend at work is leaving, he wrote a lot of the code for the TV / PS3 version 3 of BBC iPlayer. He's also a thoroughly bloody nice chap, frighteningly smart and yet more than happy to spend any amount of his time helping out less awesome coders like me. So I thought this would be a fitting leaving gift to say thankyou, and a nice ornament for his new desk.

Ravelry link is here. The pattern is based on TV Guy from Knitting Mochimochi with a couple of modifications:

  • The screen. I based this on the iPlayer for TV category selection screen.

    It was something of a challenge to realise the full user experience vision on a screen resolution of 15 x 18 stitches.

    I basically got rid of all the text and reduced all the user interface elements to their simplest form. Each programme is an intarsia square. (This was facilitated marvellously by the serendipitous arrival on my doormat of last month's Knit Now magazine with a load of free yarn bobbins.) The centre programme is focused, so it has a pink border. I didn't have any pink yarn but I did have some pink embroidery thread so I chain stitched around the central square. The navbar at the top is backstitched on with a pink cross stitch for the position indicator.

    It was tricky to represent the semi-opaque squares at the side. Semitransparent yarn is difficult to come by, so I held a strand of grey and a strand of black yarn together for this. This was a great leftovers-using-up project, I just delved into my big bag of vaguely-aran-weight oddments that I can't quite bring myself to throw away.

  • Three pin plug
    It's a UK based telly so I added an extra pin. I crocheted the pins instead of knitting i-cord, this made them a bit thinner so I could fit the extra one on.

I toyed with the idea of making an icord CAT5 cable at the back to make it a connected TV, but was talked out of it by everyone i suggested it to. I do have a tendency to get carried away with detail, and it might have made it look a bit cluttered, so it's wireless. I know it's an analogue CRT tv, so is pretty damn unlikely to have wifi capability, but I felt I had to sacrifice some technical authenticity here; chubby oldskool tellies are just cuter and more recognisable than flatscreens.

It was loads of fun to make, I had forgotten how good making toys was! And my colleague very much liked his leaving prezzie :)


Saturday, January 07, 2012

the owls are not what they seem

I have a new jumper!

The pattern is Paper Dolls, with a more owl based yoke chart. If it looks vaguely familiar to the geekier types among you, this is because the motif is a homage to the BBC Micro, my first ever computer. I know! Everybody loves an 8 bit based operating system.

bbc micro castle of riddles

You probably didn't want to go north there.

I loved knitting this pattern, it's such a thoughtfully detailed design. I'm a massive fan of corrugated ribbing and i-cord edging. The other great thing is that the yoke chart only needs a couple of decreases within it, because it's cunningly spread over the shoulders. This means you can basically substitute whatever chart of your own you fancy without too much recalculation. (Well ok, there was a bit of recalculation, and the decision to tackle this during the festive season, whiskey in hand, meant that it took me three attempts to get the yoke right. But I got there eventually.)

The yarn is, predictably, Jamieson and Smiths 2ply jumperweight. With a dash of Eden Cottage Yarns handspun. One of these days I will be ready to make something in a non-Shetland yarn. Probably.

The finished jumper is so lovely and cosy to wear. I made it a little bit longer than the pattern suggested, and had to order another couple of balls of yellow, but that was no problem. Another awesome thing about J&S jumperweight is the way it comes in 25g balls - I love this as you can buy closer to the exact amount you need, so it works out pretty cheaply.

owl close up
Now, what other retrotech pixelated delights can I coerce into jumper form? bwahahahahaaaa! *plots*


Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 in pictures

1. headband of woolmisery, 2. audrey in unst, 3. citron, 4. socks all nicely packaged, 5. northern skies, 6. bitterroot, 7. broken stones, 8. growlithe dsi cosy, 9. tank top, 10. caterpillar toddler socks, 11. epic red shawl, 12. screenshot from ravulous, 13. hat of many greens, 14. piratelove hat, 15. little sister's dress

It's flickrmosaic time again, yay!

Here are all the things I made in 2011. Not as many as last year, but I have had some pretty Big Projects in there. The biggest thing, I think, was Ravulous. It's a bit of an odd one out in the mosaic - it's an app, which is made of 0s and 1s instead of wool. But I think it counts because it's knitting themed and it was all made by me on the kitchen table. It also sort of keeps you warm, if you put your mobile phone or tablet on your knee. It's released in the Android market and the Amazon market now if anyone wants a go. But it's still also a WIP, I am having lots of fun playing with the Ravelry API and adding new stuff in.

There are a couple of projects in there that I didn't get round to blogging about. The caterpillar toddler socks were a super quick project knitted from a mini skein of Yarn Yard Toddy. I love this yarn, and it has lasted really well despite rubbishknitterjunior spending most of his christmas holidays wearing them as slippersocks and sliding around on wooden floors.

The piratelove hat was based on an old favourite pattern, We call them pirates. My fourth hat from this pattern! You just can't go wrong with fair isle skulls. This time I modified it a bit to use 4ply and changed the chart a bit to have hearts between the skulls. The chart is here if anyone wants it. I cast on 144 stitches and just did some 2x2 ribbing instead of a hem. It's a little tight on my big heid in the photo but I made it for a smaller and more delicate lady and it fits her fine.

Excitingly, I also have an almost-done Paper Dolls on the needles at the moment, which just missed out on this year. I was hoping I'd get it finished over the Christmas break, but it turns out excessive festive whiskey intake and fair isle yoke recalculation isn't a terribly good mix.

Happy New Year everyone!


Sunday, October 02, 2011

in for the long shawl

So i finally finished my epic dew drops shawl! This started off as a quick on-the-train project for on the way down to Knit Nation. I wanted something small, light and summery to knit, and I had a load of lovely Adriafil Merino Laceweight left over from Debs's wedding shawl. Foolishly, I decided this was the perfect project to start - the big stocking stitch piece would be ideal for social knitting. With a whole two train journeys and afternoonfull of knitting i'd probably tear through most of the stocking stitch. By the time i hit the lace I'd be at home and more able to concentrate. I'd probably have the thing polished off in a week or two, then I could get on with my other Knitting Plans.
This may have been a little naive. I did get a fair bit done on the first day, but didn't get to the end of the stocking stitch. My main mistake was to take it to knitting group that week. Whilst chatting, I reached the point where you can start the lace, thought, now isn't a good time to get into the complicated bit, and I have plenty of yarn, I'll sling another couple of rows in here. The pattern is really easily adaptable, there is a great resizing table, giving you the stitch counts to use for about 20 different sizes. So all was good, I was making speedy progress, the shawl would be ready to enjoy this summer.
Then I hit the lace section. The effect was somewhat like bombing down a steep hill on a bike and into a swamp at the bottom, in which lurked crocodiles. My knitty momentum dissipated instantly. This would have been entirely predictable had I actually bothered to read the pattern properly before casting on.
I was initially attracted to this pattern because of the roundness of the lacy bits. You don't often see circles in lace, do you, it's usually triangles and feathers and pointy things. Once I started knitting, I realised pretty quickly why this is - you need to do lace stuff on every row to get a proper circle. There's no brainless purl rows that you can breeze through. This stuff requires attention in bucketfuls, which I tend not to have late in the evenings when I am sprawled on the sofa with my knitting.
This has also been a pretty busy couple of months for me. I started a new job, and have been getting ridiculously carried away with androidlove in my recreational coding projects. (A row counter for android, and a Ravelry project browser app, if you are an androidy knitter). Perhaps not the most sensible time to get massively addicted to some complicated lace.
In the last pattern repeat, whilst watching a whole film on tv, I only managed to do one complete row. I was starting to regret putting those extra rows in the stocking stitch section.
But it's ok, because it is now bloody well finished. For all my whinging I did very much enjoy making this, and am very pleased with the result. And just in time for a bit of indian summer, allowing me to legitimately wear something lightweight and drapey for a few days!


Sunday, August 21, 2011


growlithe on ds
Yes, it's time for another nintendo cosy! For a dsi this time. It's been a while... this one's for my teenage nephew who requested one with Growlithe (fire breathing puppy pokemon) on it.

I can't resist these kind of requests, and I love pokemon so I set to work. Take one image...
actual growlithe
Make an incredibly oversimplistic chart about 20 pixels square...
growlithe chart
... and embroider onto a stocking stitch tube.
growlithe detail
Hopefully it is still recognisable. It's tricky chartifying hi res images, which is why I tend to like working with classic characters from the 8 bit age of video gaming. Mario and associated mushrooms / donkey kong have about the right dimensions to embroider directly onto a 4ply ds cosy, one pixel per stitch. So I've made rather a lot of these. (Not because I'm an aging nerd, and they remind me of good times from a misspent youth. No no. That has nothing to do with it) But anyway I guess it's good to know your electronic device is safe and unscratched and warm and able to defend itself with a firebreathing attack.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

knit nation

(above: the Wollmeise stand, before it all got devoured by a swarm of yarnlocusts)

Oh yes, last weekend was knitting festival time!!!1!!1! Like Glastonbury, sort of, but with more cardigans. It's taken me a week to recover from the excitement.

Highlights of the day included:

  • Marvelling at the Habu stall. So many beautifully arranged cones of colourful tweedy yarn, I didn't want to ruin the display by buying any. There was a great selection of unusual yarn, silk / stainless steel blends, and paper! (All fun and games until it rains.)
    habu stall

  • Scoring some beautiful Crannog from the Yarn Yard. I went crazy and got a cardigansworth, probably for Laika, but I haven't 100% decided.

  • Finding this cute project bag in the same fabric as my recently acquired needle case

  • Inadvertently wandering across Ysolda's twitter feed. It was Cara who noticed this - she recognised my Tempest cardigan! (the red one)

  • Winning a Knit nation mug! Here it is being modelled by a good strong brew.

  • Relaxing in the cafe with knitting, cake and gentle yarnbanter. cake

  • Last, but very much not least - meeting the very lovely Kate Blackburn, who not only put up with my yarn-based witterings for most of the day, she met me at the station, navigated me to the correct place, and gave me gifts of yarn and cake. Thankyou so much!


Saturday, July 09, 2011


In a feat of spectacular timing, I went camping this week, just after the sunshine ended and the thunderstorms began. There was a lot of sitting in the tent, listening to the rain and doing this sort of thing. Thank the knitting gods for headtorches!

Obviously the sun came out again once I was back home. But at least I emerged blinking into the daylight with a finished tank top.

I basically made this up as I went along then pinched the neckline from High Street, a pattern with the same stitch count which I stumbled upon serendipitously after casting on. My neckline is slightly different; I used 2ply jumperweight, rather than the sportweight in the High Street pattern. Mine's a finer gauge, so I needed to add a bit of extra straight stocking stitch in at the shoulders to keep the depth of the neckline in the same sort of place. This changes the neckline to more of a U-shape than a V-shape, which I think is no bad thing.

There's no waist shaping or anything, just straight up and down, knitted in the round bottom up to the armholes. It was unbelievably easy to make. If you're feeling chilly, it's almost less hassle to knit one of these than getting up off the sofa and going upstairs to get a jumper from the wardrobe. The most laborious bit was the knitted hem, but this only took one game of Scrabble to complete. And I like the sturdy edge it gives.

Also a good stashbuster for small amounts of nice yarn. The finished top weighs about 140g, and the blue stripe is just under one 25g ball of Shetland Spindrift, so ideal if you are a fair isle enthusiast with lots of leftover bits. The brown bit is gorgeous handspun from Wild Fire Fibres. It's spun so neatly you can hardly even tell it apart from the mechanically spun yarn in the white and blue stripes! I like this fact a lot, it's like a little secret that a casual observer would never spot.

It's quite a lot shorter than the tops I usually make, but I modelled the shape exactly on a favourite tank top which I wear all the time, so I guess it doesn't bother me so much for a tank top. I have a couple of longer shirts that I wear under it so I should avoid any alarming midriff exposure. The fit is nice and snug, after my third attempt at casting on! I put a bit of experimental zigzaggy stranded colourwork in, and it's still stretchy enough to put on comfortably. Its shetlandy embrace feels bloody lovely on.

Now then, if you'll excuse me I feel like I need to go and apply for a job as a librarian or a geography teacher or something...