In preparation for Christmas, I was hired to create 11 different coffee cozies (more to come!), and in making these, I decided to explore a new skill and try my needles at double knitting.
With double knitting, the piece is completely reversible, and it shows as knitting on both sides. For the first one, I was still experimenting with the techniques for double knitting, so I wasn't quite to the point of knitting these in the round. Instead, I made this one with the button detail that can fit with coffee cups with handles.
The second cozy I made was still within the two color pattern, but I built enough confidence to try more difficult patterns.
I had always wanted to experiment with vertical stripes, and I was thrilled with how this one turned out. The next steps for my double knitting adventures will definitely be in adding colors and in using different styles of stitches.
In the same set that I made the owl and the hammerheads, I made two other animals. I hadn't really attempted anything like these before, so it was definitely a big challenge for me to execute.
The first one I made is a giraffe. I think the proportions turned out really well! My next big goal with this one is to try to integrate the patches on his side into the overall pattern with the yellow yarn. I do a lot of that with knitting, but it is a skill I have yet to completely master with the art of crochet.
Like the owl, I did implement a lot of known techniques in its execution: the ears, horns, and snout are all very similar to the dragons I've made previously. The next step in re-executing this one will definitely be to experiment with some yarn patterns for the pattern in the fur, and to try something new with the legs so these don't seem quite so separate from the rest of the body.
The other animal I made was this little lion. He's also the first one I've attempted, so I'm considering some adjustments here as well: maybe some kind of ear coming through the mane.
I'm happy with how must of the body came out, this was another pattern with ideas borrowed from the dragon, except this time, I used the way the back legs are integrated into the body. This helped me get a more powerful look in the legs.
The other thing I'm going to experiment with is the mane itself. I am thinking of adding some small ears, but I'm also trying to find a way to make the mane a little fluffier without sacrificing the use of real stitches This just helps to keep the mane far more durable over time than loose yarn. In total, I think these both turned out pretty cute, and I'm looking forward to being able to experiment with these a little more.
One of the most fun pieces I've had a chance to play with this year was this little guy. Luckily for me, owls and penguins are fairly popular birds to make right now, and one of the very first animals I made was a penguin!
This one I made for the same person as the hammerhead sharks, and I had a ton of getting him done.
I used a very similar technique to the penguin I made a few years ago: mostly it is two connected spheres. But I've made a lot of changes to define it as an owl.
The first big change I made was simply where I started: normally, I start from the head and I work my way down, but to get the top of the head the right shape, I started at the bottom and I worked my way upward.
As it turned out, the wings were very similar to shark and fish fins, so the biggest issues I had with those was putting these into the narrow space between the body and the head. I connect each piece as I go, so nothing is sewn onto the animal, and getting the crochet hook and the yarn in at the right angle made it very tricky.
The beak was made with the same general dimensions as the start of a shark's head, so its execution was very similar to what I'm used to making. The feet were made with the same techniques that I used on my dragons. And the eyes were almost exactly the same as those I used when I made the penguin.
Even though so much of the design was borrowed from other projects, I'm really happy with how it all came together.
A few months ago (when I was on hiatus, sorry again), I made a few crochet animals that haven't made it on here yet!
Today, I'm going to show off my newest sharks: hammerheads! Since I typically keep my sharks fairly basic, these were a big change, and a nice challenge, for me. I used a lot of the same general techniques that I normally use, but I definitely had to make some major changes from my usual crocheted sharks.
Of coarse, these were still the same general techniques and colors, the biggest change was definitely the shaping for the heads on these hammerheads.
I wanted to try to keep the head in proportion to the rest of its body, so I modified how the front of the head connects to the body. I also left a longer piece of yarn hanging off at the beginning so I could use it to close up part of the head without having any additional rows or stitches on one side of the head.
As per usual, I kept the purple eyes, and I attached these right on the sides of the head, similar to where these would be anatomically.
The other big difference between my hammerheads and my other crocheted sharks is the length of the fins. Hammerheads have the longest fins compared to body size than any other shark, so I wanted to emphasize this physiological difference on these as well.
The pectoral fins are about 30% longer than on my other sharks, and the dorsal fin is about 20% longer. The caudal (tail) fin was set up to be a slightly different shape than I normally do to better mirror this type of shark.
No kidding on that title!
I'm not typically someone to put animals in sweaters if it's not necessary (My mom's dog with super thin fur taught me that in some cases, it definitely is necessary.). But a friend of mine asked me to make a sweater for her cat since they were doing ugly Christmas sweater pictures this year. I couldn't resist.
Mostly, I modified making a dog sweater and extended the arms a little to accommodate longer limbs on her slender cat. I used my cat as a model for sizing, because she told me he was big but slim. Based on some of the pictures I'd seen of him, they looked close enough in size to make the appropriate estimations.
I did not make it an ugly Christmas sweater. I used a deep red yarn, knitted a long neck in a rib stitch that could fold over like a turtle neck sweater, and used one of my weave knit patterns throughout the whole body.
I can't say the cat was very pleased, but it turned out well, and was perfect for what they needed!
Copyright 2012 Rachael Armstrong
Alright, my very first pair of boots is completed! I'm extremely happy with how they've turned out and how they have stretched over the past couple weeks. The first time I put these on, it was a tight fit! But knits have a natural stretch, so the fitting relaxed over time already. These have turned put to be exceptionally comfortable, decisively warm, and definitely water resistant after Minnesota's first big snowfall.
I've worn these to school, work, and to band practice in six inches of snow: there was about enough snow to reach the top of the fold, but the snug fit kept the snow from sneaking into the boots.
Since the outer layer is acrylic, these mostly repelled the mass amounts of snow that packed onto the outside (but kicked off quickly). With a cotton blend interior, these stayed plenty warm and kept my feet dry for the day.
Check out more after the break!
It has been far too long since I posted on here! I've definitely missed getting on here and sharing my creations. With that, I haven't stopped working, and I'm glad to start putting some things back on here again!
So, without further delay, here is my first project: my first pair of boots!
Here is the first boot, in its completion. Since it's a prototype, I've kept it pretty standard with a seed stitch exterior. With the impending winter looming down on us, these are double-layered with a cotton interior for comfort and warmth and acrylic exterior for added moisture resistance.
I'm using a lot of similar techniques to the double-layered mittens that I made last year. But these are distinctly different in the sole.
I started with a decent quality flip-flop. It's match had a great sole, but it's top had been chewed through by none other than my cat, so these became the perfect candidates for my first pair of boots.
I'm actually really glad these get to have a second life, because these have good arch support, and fit my feet very well.
I am excited to finish the second boot and to start adding more detail once I have the liner completed. I especially like the fold over section (which can flip up to cover more of the leg) and the button details.
I can't wait to take these out of the house for a test drive. I'll definitely try to post more of how these test run so I can hopefully continue to make more!
My most recent project, another wedding creation, is a set of coffee cozies (complete with new mugs) for one of my dearest friends. We're both huge coffee drinkers, and even though she now lives in Houston, Texas, I know keeping coffee the same temperature is a great thing for both of us.
Click "Read More" to check out more after the jump!
After a brief intermission from projects over the past month, I'm back with more work for weddings. I'm definitely excited to get some things out for the wonderful ladies who are moving into the next phase of their lives.
This first project is for a dear friend who I have known for most of my life, and I am very excited to prepare some larger dish towels in the new basket weave pattern that I have been experimenting with.
Click "Read More" to see pictures and some new materials I'm working with!
One of the things that I definitely advocate for is living life in a more environmentally friendly way. Since I'm a renter, I focus more on how I can reduce the amount of waste I produce so less of what I use ends up in a landfill. So, I decided to make some dishcloths this past week! I made a set of six, two of each kind.
One is very smooth and would be great for wiping surfaces or cleaning windows, another is a bit more abrasive because of the order of the stitches, and the last is a combination of the two.
Click "Read More" to check out each one after the break!