Sunday, August 14, 2011

iMittens, or 'GOOD LUCK ANYA!'

Ye gods, is this my third post in as many weeks? I am on FIRE over here!

Not literally, it's ok. Don't panic.

Today's story is about a friend of mine named Anya who is incredibly clever. I mean, you might think you're clever, but have you had Cambridge and Yale cage-fight over the privilege of educating you? No? Didn't think so. Me neither, alas. Anya, however, has had this spectacle play out before her, and is heading for Yale this very week. Much to the sadness of her housemates and those of us who spend FAR TOO MUCH TIME at their house, she is also taking her ipad with her. :''( *sniff*

To mark the occasion, I made Anya some mittens to keep her hands warm in the cold New England winter. Not just any mittens, of course: ipad-friendly mittens, in Yale colours!

See how they flip up, so you can use a touchscreen? They are based on the 'Mittens with a Flap' pattern by PJ Allen, which you can get as a free download on Ravelry from PrettyKnittyJewelry Designs. It's a good, clearly-written pattern, I'd recommend it if it's mittens you're after. The thumb flap is my own twist though - 'cos you've gotta be able to use your thumb to get the zoom action on your ipad. Very important. I did it by pretty much copying how the flap on the fingers works, like this:

Rounds 1-2: As for 'Thumb' in original pattern.
Rounds 3-4: Knit around.
Round 5: Figure out the 'front' half of the thumb (i.e. the 8 sts closest to the rest of the mitten) and the 'back' half. Knit the 'front' sts and purl the 'back' sts.
Round 6: Knit around.
Rounds 7-15: k2, p2 rib. Cast off as per the rib.

Thumb flap:
Round 1: Pick up 8 sts from 'back' half purl bumps. Cast on another 8 sts, join in the round.
Rounds 2-9: The sts attached to the 'back' or 'hinge' half should be all knit, the 'front' half should be k2, p2 rib.
Rounds 10-14: Knit around.
Round 15: K2tog around. Cut yarn leaving a long tail, draw through live stitches, fasten thumb closed.

I spent quite a lot of time faffing around in yarn shops, trying to find the yarn that seemed best to match 'Yale Blue' and Yale's favoured tone of grey - an entirely pointless effort, given the differences between the Pantone specifications and the apparent colour of the sample colour on my ipod, and between my ipod and the yarn, but the thought was there... In the end, I settled for Lincraft's Merrijig 12ply in colours 3016 and 3015. It's a nice warm 100% wool yarn, but it's also machine-washable, so that's nice and handy. (lol 'handy'. Mittens... Handy... Get it? rofl.)

And here they are in use:

Not only has she got it going on in the brains department, she's also a natural at hand modelling... Sheesh.


Aaaaand, apropos of nothing, here's a photo of some fun knit grafitti I saw yesterday in the Bourke Street Mall:

Apparently it's by Yarn Corner, and has been up since the end of July - that shows you how often I head into the city!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shelf Life.

You may recall, I've spoken of the joys of hard rubbish day before. Well, here is another such tale. You see, once upon a time, there was a chest of drawers. Alas, but the drawers were long gone, making it merely a Chest-of-No-Drawers.

A sad, hollow existence it was for the poor little Chest-of-No-Drawers, cast out onto the hard, cold footpath, all alone. Awww :'(

But suddenly, in a poof of glitter and thrift, the Fairy Scroungemother appeared. "Why, little Chest-of-No-Drawers," she said, "Look at your fine, sturdy wooden runners, spaced a convenient distance apart. You could support a fine set of shelves of perfect dimensions for storing shoes." So saying, the Fairy Scroungemother scooped up the little chest and took it home (and left it in her room for several months until she got her tax return and could afford a saw and some clamps and some hardboard).

And with a wave of her magic saw, the little Chest-of-No-Drawers became a handy set of shoe shelves.

Hurrah! :D

This little revamp project was suuuuper fun because I hadn't done any woodwork-type stuff in ages. So, it was also highly educational. (Note to self, hardboard is probably best attacked with a fine-toothed hacksaw, not a huge, shark-toothed panel saw. Hah... Yeah.) But the upshot is that I am pumped to get into a bit more of this, now I have a basic complement of tools. Probably not full-scale, from-scratch furniture creation, but IKEA hacking (or, hard rubbish hacking :P) and that kind of thing. I'll be looking at hard rubbish day in a whole new light now...