Friday, 31 December 2010

Smushion Pattern

I've recently been blogging over at www.emmafolds.com - there's a lot I like about Tumblr but I don't know if I'm going to make it permanent. 


In the meantime, I've been having issues with my Smushion pattern download on Ravelry, so I'm going to post it here as well. Ravelry is a great site and on the whole very intuitive, but I've been having such issues with uploading patterns!


So, for your knitting pleasure, I present:


Smushion by emmafolds


A cosy cushion cover knit in a soft chunky yarn with a cabled front and moss stitch reverse with button closure.



Materials:
Approx. 250g Rowan Cocoon (80% merino wool, 20% kid mohair)
7mm circular needle (I used 24”/60cm length) or size needed to obtain correct gauge
Cable needle
16” x 16” cushion pad (I used a feather cushion which can be fuller than polyester)
4 x 1” buttons

Gauge:
14sts and 16 rows = 10cm in st st. Matching exact gauge isn’t crucial but might affect the fit of the cushion cover on your cushion.

Directions:
Cast on 94 stitches. Join in the round, being careful not to twist stitches. Place marker at beginning of round.

Work first row of chart over 52 stitches. Place second marker. Work next 42 stitches in moss stitch to end of row.

Continue to work chart between two markers to create the front of the cushion cover, working moss stitch for the back.

Work 9 repeats of chart.

Work rows 1 and 2 again. Work row 3 across front of cushion cover, and then cast off 42 stitches in pattern across back. Remove markers.

Work front of cushion cover (52 sts) in moss stitch for 3”. (You will be working back and forth now rather than in the round.) This will create the flap for your button closure.

Next row: work four 4-stitch buttonholes. I like to use Barbara Breiter’s buttonhole; the tutorial can be found here:
Buttonhole (BH) placement will be as follows: work 8 sts in moss stitch, place 4- stitch BH, work 7 sts, place 4-stitch BH, work 6 sts, place 4-stitch BH, work 7 sts, place 4-stitch BH, work 8 sts.

Work in moss stitch for another inch. Cast off in pattern.

Sew lower edges of cover together. I turned the cover inside out and used mattress stitch to seam the two sides together.

Weave in ends and attach buttons.

Stuff with your cushion pad, and there you have it! A smoosh-worthy cushion with removable cover.


My apologies if you've had trouble with the download on Rav, I know it's taken me a little while to fix it. See you soon!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Smushion



My brother and his fam recently moved into a new house, and I decided my housewarming gift would be a knitted cushion. One of the first things I ever knitted was a cushion cover, and to this day it still makes the best nap pillow. I had some spare Rowan Cocoon to use up, so scoured Ravelry for some nice chunky patterns. There's some good stuff on there, but none of it was quite what I wanted. So, I made a pattern up. All out of my own head. I knitted a swatch and did the maths to work out how to make it fit a 16"x16" cushion insert, I accounted for the difference in gauge between cabling and moss stitch, and I darn well wrote myself a pattern.



You can find it on Rav here, it's named Smushion because it's smooshy and I have no imagination. It's been pretty well received so far, queued by a few people and given loads of hearts. I am diddly dang proud of myself.


Monday, 23 August 2010

Time keeps on slippin'

(The set list for Rock Band 3 leaked - it's gonna have Fly Like An Eagle on it, along with some other super super brilliant tracks. I loves me some Steve Miller Band, I can't even tell you.)

August is a deadly busy month. My next (huge, HUGE) assignment is due a week tomorrow, so I've got my nose to the grindstone. Once this is in, I've just got my thesis to do. Just, hah!

Highlights of this month include:

- the Cropredy folk festival with thunderstorms and holey tents, but also Rick Wakeman and Fairport Convention. I think I'm still drying out, but it was brilliant.

- Spontaneous visit to Bath to go to the American Museum for last minute research. This is one of my favourite museums, and if I had to name my ideal job, it would be based in this museum, no doubts. While down there we got a cheapy room in a Fawlty Towers-esque hotel (we always manage to sniff out those places) and spent an evening at Thermae Spa, basking in the same thermal waters the Romans did all those years ago. We booked everything on a whim the day before, and it was just the best outing. I would say it helped me find my centre, if I didn't think that sounded like hippy crap.

- Bonding with my brother's girlfriend. She's on maternity leave at the moment and, I think, somewhat in need of adult company. I'm an awkward shy person, and though I've always liked her we never sort of clicked as well as we have recently. It's sort of an odd and unexpected development, but all of a sudden my respect and admiration for her has skyrocketed - I suspect it's because she handles two kids with ease and patience, whereas my ovaries retreat into hiding when I even think about having to change a nappy. I can barely take care of myself. Anyway, it's been brilliant, and I'm looking forward to a Baking Day with her next week. Though I am trying to make it into Bacon Day instead.

I have another busy week this week. As well as the last editing of my essay, creating floor plans etc, I have a catch-up with friends, Scott Pilgrim on Wednesday (VIP seats baby) and on Friday, I'm teaching knitting at the Natural History Museum with Stitch London, details here. This is gonna get it's own post! I am too excited.

Oh and of course, I've been knitting, more or less every spare moment. Preview of (very unfinished) Manu:


If you want any more details of my highly-anticipated appearance at the Stitch A Squid event or just want to badger me, please to be emailing me: emma@emmafolds.com

Right, well, today's procrastination complete, see you later!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Oh boy, toys

I found myself bored and fidgety at 10pm Saturday night (yeah, I'm in at that time, what of it?) so I cast on for a new project. It should be noted that I currently have around 6 unfinished objects (that's a conservative estimate), but I also have Knitter's ADD, so I'm not going to feel guilty about this. 


This is Elijah, from (who else?) Ysolda Teague. Here's the details:

Pattern: Elijah (ravelled here)
Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic in some deep red colour - why don't they give the colourways names like the other cool yarn companies?
Needles: 4.5mm DPNs. I should note that the yarn calls for 5.0 - 5.5mm, but it is a DK. I think it calls for bigger needles because of the halo, but I would go smaller even than 4.5mm as the stuffing shows through. Stupid Rowan.





This pattern is brilliant. I've never knitted a toy before, and this fella looks complicated, but the pattern is so well written that it's incredibly easy. I mentioned I cast on at 10pm Saturday - he was finished by midday Monday. I put a photo on Facebook and had a friend ask for one for his niece, so I've already cast on for that, in a baby-friendly acrylic. I'm so nice that I'm only charging him for the yarn.

A note about knitting for other people: I only knit what I know. If knitting a pattern involves learning a new skill, I probably won't do it on demand. I'll happily take it on when I've taught myself that skill, but generally I will only knit something if I know how to do it, it's super easy, and/or I love knitting it. In the past, I have knitted in exchange for artwork and chocolate, but I think charging at least for yarn is a good idea. It's always tricky to ask for reimbursement for knitting, particularly if I charged for my time - this fuzzy elephant guy would total over £60 if I was charging minimum wage plus yarn. I think he's sweet, but he's not worth that!

In non-knitting related news, I've been offered a volunteer placement with my favourite museum. It's going to be an amazing valuable experience, as well as a huge challenge. It involves a lot of responsibility and, ultimately, an event and exhibition which I will be largely in charge of. That's pretty mad. 

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Purple haze

This week's photo theme was purple. 'Expect flowers!', I said. Lo:


We went for a lovely walk round Denby Hillside, which was chock full of butterflies. I also captured this:


which gave me the urge for some tiny laceweight knitting. 

Still busy busy, had some good news recently, and have been knitting commissions! Some FOs to come.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

EmmaFolds

I reckon you should always think carefully when branding yourself. I didn't, really. A little background of the name EmmaFolds: towards the tail end of my very first grown up job, with an internet marketing company, I found myself unmotivated and basically bored to tears most days. So, I took up origami. It's a pretty sneaky procrastination activity, even in an open-plan office, and there's never a shortage of supplies. So I started spending my days folding paper, with far more enthusiasm (and skill) than I ever had for my job, and when I first signed up for Etsy, I thought up a username in a hurry. Thus, I created EmmaFolds - after all, I do. Fold.

My best work, amusingly, was used for the company website - I made a little string of elephants led by a big elephant, showing we're the best in our field, or some other rubbish. Unfortunately they've since rebranded and my incredible skills are lost somewhere in intarweb limbo. And I've mostly replaced my origami with knitting, but every now and then I get on a folding kick. Yesterday I folded some flowers.


I'm not as good as I used to be but I quite enjoyed how these came out.


I enjoy origami for much the same reason I enjoy knitting - it's about maths (well, in the case of origami, geometry); about being able to take one object, be it a piece of paper or a ball of yarn, and manipulating it in your mind to transform it completely, then creating that as a 3D object. It's smart, both origami and knitting are smart hobbies, and far more complicated than people give them credit for. They can be basic or complex, and the smallest mistake can completely throw off the rest of the piece. It keeps my brain active and I need that.


When I was taking these photographs, I realised this last flower reminded me an awful lot of a recent FO:




This is the Meret (ravelled here), knit in Noro Silk Garden. The detail of that last flower was, I felt, reminiscent of the top of the hat, which almost looks like a star. This is the second time I've knitted this pattern, and I think it's great for a beginner hat. It has a simple lace pattern and a number of variations, to change the brim or make it slouchier, so you can knit it to suit your style.

By the by, if anyone wants this hat, it's up for sale in my etsy store here - I love the style but decided the colours just aren't for me.  



Apologies for the webcam photoshoot - it seems that when I try and take photographs of myself on a timer, they come out like this:


  

I'll, uh... I'll keep practicing.

Photo assignment

I've got more knitting chat coming up, but am somewhat occupied at the moment with The Degree from Hell (pretty sure that's how it's listed in the prospectus). In the meantime, to keep the creative juices flowing, I set an assignment for myself and the Yank. Each week has a theme, a colour, an emotion etc., and we have to take a photo conforming to that theme. The first week was yellow, so, mustering up all my creative energy, I took a picture of a flower, because I feel like that's never been done before.


This week's theme is purple. I'm going to try and be a little more imaginative, but probably you should just expect a photo of lavender.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Knerd

I've grown bored of the miles of stockinette needed for needled's Manu so have been looking for little diversions. I recently grabbed some cotton from my stash and whipped up this Mario washcloth


It's just knits and purls but I think it looks pretty cool.


I added a little icord to make a hook.




I had no idea what to do with it so I gave it to my brother. I figure he can use it as a burp cloth or whatever. He's a video game freak, so he damn well better appreciate it.

The chick who created this pattern also has Luigi and Princess Peach washcloths, and it got me wondering what else I have in my Ravelry queue that is geek-inspired. Here's some of my favourites:



Knitted companion cube! By Wren Montgomery. I've never done any 3D knitting like this but I hope I get around to it some day.



Space Invaders sweater by Lisseut.


Epic Super Mario Brothers afghan by CraftNerd1. I wish I had the dedication!



Awesome knitted robot by the lovely MargoC. I WANT A CUDDLY ROBOT PLEASE


Robot fair isle sweater by Elf518 (link goes to her Etsy shop, where you can buy the patterns for her insane colourwork!)

There's not enough nerdy knitting books out there, but I do love this crochet book I have, Creepy Cute Crochet, which has a tiny crocheted Cthulu. Awesome.








Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Americanisation/Americanization: A Rant

My dad likes to save articles from his newspapers for me to read. They’re always about something he knows I’d be interested in, like museums, classic rock or ‘the you tube’. This weekend he had a gem waiting for me, an article about how American words and phrases are creeping into our vocabulary. And, apparently, how this signals the demise of our national identity. This is an issue that never fails to get my goat, and this particular article was a pretty shoddy piece of writing, with weak arguments and poorly chosen examples. I won’t deny that we are seeing Americanisationisms (totally made this word up because I like how it looks) seep into our current culture, but I really don’t think the word ‘hospitalisation’ is anything to get riled up about. There’s far more interesting terms to choose from. Also, yes, it’s true; Americans do say ‘math’ rather than ‘maths’. But I myself have not witnessed people using the former, and I don’t see it becoming commonly used, so maybe that one we can leave alone.


I don’t doubt that I take this issue to heart because I sound more American every day. Living with a Yank will do that to you – when I had flatmates from Suffolk I started speaking like a country bumpkin. So yes, perhaps I feel people are having a dig at me, but I really think the issue has been blown out of proportion. Our language, the vocabulary, slang, acronyms etc we use every day are a reflection of current popular culture. People study how language has changed over time and how that mirrors what is happening in society. I don’t think we should bemoan it just because we are witnessing changes right now. Moreover, people are constantly influenced by the activities they are engaged in – look at ‘gamer speak’, or popular phrases that stem from sports terminology. The words we use reflect who we are, and in a society where the internet and social networking play such a big part, it is inevitable that we will pick up phrases from our internet-friends-across-the-pond. It’s not a bad thing.

The writer of the article seemed to think that our national identity is so tied up with the language we use, that if we started regularly using ‘from the get-go’ instead of ‘from the onset’, riots would break out across the country accompanied by hair rending and maniacal laughter, and our isle would eventually disappear into the ocean with a pitiful belch. It’s an overreaction and I think it’s petulant and pedantic. If that is all our national identity is about, if it has nothing to do with traditions, diversity, pastimes, regional quirks, well then, I guess we really are screwed.

To bring my rant back to knitting, I shall continue to use the word ‘yarn’ instead of ‘wool’. I hate having to catch and correct myself because my xenophobic mother will roll her eyes at me otherwise. Wool is wool. To me, yarn can be cotton, wool, acrylic, steel, linen, mohair, cashmere, alpaca, angora, silk. Hell, it can even be plastic bags and cassette tape. So I’m with the Yanks on this one. Sometimes, they just make more sense.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Lucky I'm losing my job, in a way...

...because I have so much knitting I want to do.




(Note: My temporary contract came to an end, again, and they sort of need to find out from Mister Cameron-Clegg how much money they'll be getting before they decide if they can, indeed, afford my much-needed expertise. Don't fail me now, Cameron-Clegg!)



- Baby knitting. Since my friends are all baby-hating career women, who knows when they’ll be another littl’un around, so I’d best take advantage of this one. Plus, my brother has more or less convinced me to knit a tiny Link outfit. That’s probably going to happen.



- ‘Sorry I don’t want to see you’ gift for Emily’s grandma. Since I’ve abandoned our annual trip to the Berkeley Show in order to satisfy my own selfish desires, I want to knit a little something for Granny Mary to show I’m grateful for her offer of letting us stay in the cabin again. Plus, I love the lady. Plus, old people appreciate young people who can knit. I’m thinking a floaty shawl or somesuch. Something that will encourage her to put me in her will.



- Geeky things for The Yank. I have a plan, a plan that involves 3D knitting, in order to make something awesome related to the Yank’s work. It will be nerdy and brilliant, but only if I can get my head around creating my own design. My long-abandoned maths skills will have to be employed here. Also, googly eyes.



- I saw a lady on the train this morning wearing a fantastically constructed knitting piece, so I instantly took out my sketchbook and started working out a pattern. No, that’s a lie. I opened up Notes on my phone and tried to describe it so that I would remember what the hell it looks like later. ‘Sideways knitted, seamed at sides, pick up sides for buttonband’. Yes, that will work. For real though, I’d love to move into designing my own knitted garments. It is so much more technical than you’d think. There’s so much maths, and you really have to have one of those brains that can get around engineering things... Seeing something in your mind and being able to unfold it, lay it flat and work out dimensions. We’ll see if I can wangle it.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Ethan's Blanket


This is the Hap Blanket from Ysolda Teague. I started knitting it early in the year for my brother's newest littl'un. They didn't want to know if it was a boy or a girl - I know, I know, it's their choice, but damn they made baby knitting hard. I had to try and pick gender-neutral colours, which all the baby apparel shops have decided are stone, teal and green. I, however, don't see what's so wrong about wrapping babies in grey, so I used Rowan Pure Wool Aran (machine washable for all the inevitable spew and poops) in grey and teal. I love the colours, but once it was done they did seem rather boyish, so I'm glad Ethan came out Ethan and not Imogen.

The lace edging was pretty damn tricky, and finishing (blocking, sewing in ends) was a bitch, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and the garter stitch is lovely and smooshy and cosy. Kind of wish I'd kept this one for myself. Can't really deny the comfort of a hand-knitted blanket to a bundle of awesome like this, though:


It's just the most brilliant thing to have someone so special wrapped up in something I put many, many hours into. It is at times like this I love knitting the most.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Owls Cardigan

You probably remember the Owls sweater I knit last year, non-existent blog reader. Well, I decided I want it in cardigan form - to be honest, I have never worn the sweater out of the house. I seem to have a problem wearing my own handknits. I thought it might be because it's just so darn warm, so was wondering if I wouldn't fare better with a cardigan. I gathered up all the Malabrigo Worsted I had, in a lovely semi-solid forest green, and knitted myself the famed Owls, converted into cardigan form with the help of some other Raveler's notes. It turned out, well, bloody fantastic.


I have actually worn this one out, swanning round Bath, so I can safely assume it's a winner. It was mostly all guesswork - I was knitting with worsted rather than the required chunky, so I upped my needle size and used the figures for the next size up. Added an extra 10 stitches for the garter button band, making sure my numbers were right for the Owl cabling, and there you go. I think maybe this one is my favourite.

Sage Remedy - Cure for a craptastic winter

It sure was a long, hard slog of a winter. Terrible, terrible. I thought it was over but the cold weather is creeping back in. It's just 16 degrees in the archive room today, and they haven't turned the heating on in the library. Budget cuts must be hitting hard. Shame we are currently government-less.

Sage Remedy Top



Ah, low quality phone pics. The top you see here is not complete - in fact it is just the front tucked into my bra straps. But, BUT! I still think it shows off how lovely the top is. I knit it in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in a lovely sort of sea green colour. It's my first time knitting with cotton (well, a cotton mix) and I was impressed. It felt weighty and sturdy, it wasn't splitty, and the finished fabric has a lovely drape. It's got lovely lace sections on the front and the back and is very flattering. Would knit again - possibly in an alpaca mix with longer sleeves for a floaty winter top?


Monday, 18 January 2010

By the wayside

As is the tradition with blogs, I have neglected this for a very long time. I want a place other than Ravelry to show off my finished knits, so will likely post a few here. Also, we have a shiny new camera in the family, so I'm hoping for some lovely pictures.

Some things I have knitted since May:
A bunny toy
Baby booties
A shawl
Two jumpers
A tee/blouse
Felted slippers
Two hats
Mitts

It's madness, I tell you. I'm currently working on the Hap Blanket by Ysolda. A gift for my soon-to-be niece/nephew.

Okay, see you soon!