Thursday, February 28, 2013

mystery knit-along 2013

If you're in my Ravelry group, perhaps you'll have seen that I'm planning a mystery knit-along (KAL) beginning March 1. This was a slight planning error on my part, since we were on vacation for the past week! Anyway, my needles have been flying, and the keyboard clicking, and with some hard work everything will be ready to go tomorrow morning. There has been a bit of confusion about how everything will work, probably because I've never done this before, and I've been trying to sort it all out with a million other things going on. I'm hoping the information below will clear everything up. I really want it to be fun for everyone!

If you've never done one, a knit-along is a group activity where a bunch of people knit the same pattern at the same time. Via the Ravelry group, you post photos of your progress, and can ask and answer any questions that arise. A mystery knit-along is very similar, except you don't know what you're making until you finish (and you try not to spoil the mystery if you figure it out early!)

The mystery KAL pattern will be published via Ravelry. While you don't need a Ravelry account to buy it, you will need one to participate in the discussions and sharing. We will begin March 1, but you can join any time. To join, you need to purchase the pattern (here). A new segment will be added once a week for 6 weeks. So, every Friday for the next 6 weeks you will receive a notice to download the updated pattern (this also means that if you join late, you still get all the earlier parts of the pattern). Once we're done, and I have the final version of the pattern ready, you will get a copy of that as well.

We will begin with the garment, so the whole toy stays a mystery a little longer. There are 2 versions: one with stranded colour-work knit flat, one with stripes (or you could knit it in a solid colour). You can also choose between a more fitted garment with fingering yarn on 3 mm needles, or a looser garment with sport weight yarn on 3.25 mm needles. (Hopefully these options will mean you can destash if you don't want to buy new yarn).

The animal will be in a solid colour. I've been asked if it can be worked in stripes, but the animal in question isn't striped. If you want to use more than one colour of yarn, I suggest knitting the arms and legs in the alternate colour.

Here are the materials you will need, if you want to prepare:
Garment yarn: 25 g of fingering or sport weight yarn in colour A (a light neutral), 15 g of fingering or sport weight yarn in colour B, 15 g of fingering or sport weight yarn in colour C.
Animal yarn: 50 g of worsted weight yarn in medium brown, 10 g of yarn in dark brown or black, small amount of white yarn (or felt)
Needles: 3 or 3.25 mm (US size 2.5 or 3) for the garment, 4 mm (US size 6) knitting needles for the animal
Notions: 4 small buttons, pair of 9 mm safety eyes (or buttons or black yarn), tapestry needle, scrap yarn

If any more questions come up, I will add my answers here.

Q: Why are there black squares in the first 3 rows?
A: The black squares on the chart mark where there are no stitches. The first 3 rows are worked across only 30 stitches, then you increase 1 stitch on row 4. Also, when you begin to shape the shoulders, black squares mark where you lose stitches as you decrease.

Q: How do I know that I received all the parts when I buy the pattern?
A: When I update the KAL pattern each week, it includes all the previous parts. Part 1 is on page 1 and part 2 on page 2 etc (although the associated charts are at the end of the pattern). For example, if you've already printed out the first 2 parts of the pattern, all you need to do is print page 3 for the third part of the pattern.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

lovey for Spring

While it's been awfully quiet around here for the past month, my knitting needles have been busy! I have a new toy design for you, just in time for thinking about warmer weather and the cute baby animals that come with it. The new pattern is called "Flat Foot Floogie" (named by my so-serious husband) and is a lovey with both lamb and rabbit variations. A lovey is not a toy I'm very familiar with, but there seemed to be a lack of cute patterns for them, so I thought I would fill the gap for you.

The pattern is fairly basic and knit flat, but with some nice shaping to keep it interesting. You will need to know stockinette stitch, garter stitch, increasing, decreasing, and how to cast-on stitches at the end of the row. There is some sewing and finishing, but not as much as my usual toys. Plus, the heads are very similar to my other toy patterns, so you could easily make other animals into loveys. I would just recommend adding 2 rows to the stockinette section of the head, to make up for the gauge difference between worsted and chunky yarn. Because thicker yarns vary so much in gauge, the pattern also gives lengths for the yarn requirements. If you're in doubt, make sure you have enough meters or yards - this matters far more than the weight.

While I designed the toy mainly for babies, my two boys (who are 4 and 2) love the test samples I knit. But they both insist the toys are better with a rattle in the head. I made rattle inserts from plastic cosmetic sample jars, by placing a metal jingle-bell inside and then glueing the lid on. However, small ones are fairly cheap to buy on Etsy (just search for "rattle insert" under supplies).

You can now purchase the pattern on Ravelry, Craftsy, or Etsy. If you buy it on Etsy, you will have to wait for me to email the download link (although I'm working on a solution to this).