Thursday, February 28, 2008

valentines card chart / surprise yarn

8 bit love

Ok, so I finally got round to putting up the chart for the Valentines day card I made. Possibly a little late if anyone else wants to use it! Oops. Well, er... there's always next year! Or perhaps sooner, if you love someone enough to express it in a highly labour-intensive way at a non Hallmark-sanctioned time of year.

In other news I got some lovely surprise yarn from a mate who just got back from a trip round South America. What an ace unexpected present - look at that soft alpaca-y goodness! I'm pondering what to make out of it... it's very soft and loosely plied, so i'm thinking maybe a scarf would be quite nice, if i can rocket-propel my needles and get one made before springtime...

It's really nice yarn to feel... i just wound it into a ball with minimal hand chafing. (Actually less of a ball, more of an oblate spheroid, pleasingly like the shape of the earth, with my half-arsed back of chair ball-winding technique).

Close up of glossy camelid-sourced goodness.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

no gorillas allowed


love is in the air... everywhere i look around...

This is my valentines day effort, just finished. I think I'm fairly safe to post it here as I doubt the intended recipient will be perusing the knitting blogosphere any time soon. It's based on the end of level scene in Donkey Kong - when Mario climbs up onto the top girder you get this tender little moment. Purists will note that the Lady isn't wearing high heels in my version - I wanted the figures to be roughly the same size, and I'm more of a trainers girl myself.

I'm no cross-stitch expert but it seemed the best way of compressing a small pixellated scene from the 8 bit era into a card-sized space, so this is the medium I have opted for.

It was inspired by recently watching King of Kong, a documentary about the mad competitiveness of people trying to get the high score in Donkey Kong. Really far, far better than it sounds... it made me go on a small retro games bender. Equally pleasing, and even funnier was the South Park pisstake of it, which was on last night as I was stitching the Lady's skirt. Best not to go into details of that one in case anyone is eating or drinking as they read this, but suffice it to say that it was utter genius, in a fairly stomach-churningly unpleasant sort of way.

The inside of the card. You probably have to have seen the end of level scene in Donkey Kong to fully appreciate this. If you haven't, I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to reveal that the the titular gorilla has something of an irritating habit of repeatedly spoiling Mario and the Lady's romantic liaisons.


Saturday, February 02, 2008


Pretty scary isn't he! Pattern is norberta from knitty. At one point he was actually starting to look a bit frightening, so in the interests of not giving its owner nightmares, I left off the fangs and added a comedy felt tongue instead. The intended recipient hasn't actually been born yet so the eyes are embroidered on to improve batterability. This was the trickiest bit... I am no expert at embroidery and made a test swatch of eyes before attempting them on the actual toy. (I then left this around the lounge in unexpected places to scare people). From this swatch I learned that it's really worth spending 20p on a couple of skeins of proper embroidery thread rather than attempting to embroider with leftover scraps of sock yarn; it just stands out better against a woolly background.

Many would be put off this pattern by the amount of sewing up involved, but I didn't really mind that. It's nice to see the thing slowly taking shape. Although I would say that this was made unnecessarily tricky by my choice of boucle yarn.

It's made with two strands of yarn held throughout, and two different boucle yarns for the green bits. I thought this would make it look a bit more scaly but in retrospect just turning it purl side out, as suggested in the pattern, would have done the job with a lot less hassle.

Some things that I have learned are well-nigh impossible with boucle yarn:

  • Frogging

  • Seaming

  • Shaping

  • Pretty much making anything that isn't a garter stitch scarf

It's all my sister's fault for describing Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan as ideal cuddly dragon yarn. It does feel nice and soft though so I can kind of see her point. The rest is all leftover bits and bobs of yarn from the cupboard though, so it was a nice cheap project. And thanks to Catr for the loan of felt for the tongue!