OMG! Heart these. Just discovered these handy little accessories for knitting and crochet! I always drag some crochet or knitting with me wherever since I commute on the train to work and I always just throw my knitting into the smallest plastic bag I can find. I also always find that I need a yarn ball container/bag when working at home because it keeps the yarn from rolling around but never quite found one I wanted. Until now! I found both of these at Lion Brand Yarn Studio. The only major con I see is they’re both on the pricey side. Crafters on a budget can easily poke 2 holes in a bag or something to come up with a similar, albeit less durable, solution. For more avid crafters, it can be well worth the splurge!
GoKnit Bags $26
I’ve been carrying around my travel/commuter knit and crochet projects in plastic bags! Great in a pinch but if you do it a lot, you’ll find your needles poke thru, the bags tear, and of course it’s unsightly. So when I saw these simple yet durable looking bags, it was the perfect solution! Super lightweight, durable, easy to keep clean, and can ball up into nothing when not in use. I also love that there are many loops and drawstrings so you can attach to whatever you desire.
It’s simply a drawstring bag that has 2 snap close loops. One on the inside (to feed your yarn through) and one on the outside to attach to a purse or bag! Plus, you can swap out projects whenever you want. You can snap open the inside loop to pull the yarn through without having to cut it, so projects already in progress can be removed and replaced whenever you like. Awesome. These bags are offered in a variety of materials. I got the Nylon Medium in Bright Yellow.
Where To Buy: GoKnit Pouches by KnowKnits.com
YarnPop Pouches $29
This is a handy yarn pouch with two little holes for pulling yarn though. Fabulous for keeping balls and skeins from rolling around everywhere, yarn from tangling, and getting dirty. And it’s a lot less bulky and lighter than most yarn holders. A small con is you cannot use this pouch for projects you’ve already started without cutting the yarn, pulling it through the holes, and then rejoining.
The pouch I got has 2 holes on one side so I could use it to carry 2 different yarn colors! It also comes in other varieties, one pouch has a hole on each side with an additional inside zip to separate your yarn balls. They have so many different variations. Check out their site for the one that best suits you! I got the Large with 2 holes on the same side.
Where To Buy: YarnPop Pouches
Happy December 1st! This means it’s only 24 days until Christmas and 24 days to finish up all your Christmas presents. Here’s what I’ve been working on…
6 Skeins Caron Simply Soft Yarn, 100% Acrylic, Worsted Weight, Off White 9702, 315 yards per skein (6oz Size Skein)
Tapestry or Yarn Needle
Hook Size J [6.00mm]
Width: Upon Completion
Length: Upon Completion
I got 9 Squares per Skein (almost 10!)
Each square measures about 6″ x 6″
Skill Level: Intermediate
The wagon wheel motif is very simple, the pattern is easy to follow and not complex. However Red Heart classifies the pattern as “Intermediate” possibly because of the stitch which uses Front Post Double Crochet [fpdc]. The pattern provides well detailed step-by-step pictures of how to perform the FPDC, so it’s easy to pick it up for the first time.
Make 49 of these squares, whipstitch the squares together, crochet the border on, weave in ends! (The original pattern calls for 64 squares.)
Each square also crochets up very fast – 7 rounds from start to finish. A fast crocheter can probably knock out 3-4 squares in 1 hour.
Portal Sweater by Aaren
For all you knitting fiends slash Portal fans by the makers of such games as Half-Life and Counterstrike, some quintessential First Person Shooter games (one of my fave genres of gaming), check this out!
The full pattern is available for free from monday.tumblr.com and also on her Ravelry! Check out the detail on the elbows, heart patches! For the record, Quake 3 Arena is still and will always be the FPS that sparked it all for me. 1 FRAG LEFT!
As seen on TalkAndroid.com. These guys love Android devices. So naturally this shuffled up on their blog. The original creations are by Bethsco.com. She makes some cute little creations for sale including the Droid Bot pictured above. Check out her blog too for crochet mania! You can find the full pattern on their website or copied here for your convenience: (more…)
Crochet Mania! I raided the Coats & Clark free pattern library. And found these lovely patterns. These free basic patterns are great for inspiration! Try them as is or modify them to create your own designs. From Coats & Clark. See also my spring/summer crochet patterns, they’re free too!
Bags & Totes
Yes! Doesn’t get easier than this beach bag. It’s crocheted from the bottom up in one piece!
Simply choose a nice cotton yarn and go!
Runner-up to the Beach Bag. The bottom is rounded!
Pattern #3 of my Beaches, Bikes, & Babes Collection for Spring/Summer 2011.
Summer is officially here! It was a hot hazy kick off to Memorial Day Weekend here in NYC. I was doing some spring cleaning when these random hoop earrings fell out. I was going to toss them but thought maybe I can crochet over them and then thought “and I have the perfect yarn for it!”. So here they are. It took about 20-30 minutes tops. This is a great use for any DK Weight scrap yarn you have laying around!
It’s also a great way to change the look of a pair of nice hoops you have just for the summer. Just unravel the yarn when you’re done and you’ll have your expensive hoops back to normal! Re-crochet the same pair of earring in whatever color you like after you get sick of the first one!
Karabella Glimmer, Pink (674), DK Weight, 90% Rayon 10% Lurex, 141 yards, $9.50 per ball
Crochet Hook Size E [3.50mm]
1 Pair Hoop Earrings
Skill Level: Beginner
Make a slip knot as normal. Slip this loop onto your earring. Leave the loop a little loose so there is room to slip your hook through. Slip your crochet hook through the loop as if to Single Crochet. Then tighten the loop.
Choose any cheapie hoop earrings you’d like. In any size.
Crochet tight! Also, when nearing the end, spread out the stitches so that they are tight around the hoop. This way the stitches don’t slip off the hoop.
Mix up your stitches – E.g. Repeat [sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc] for a scalloped or flower petal look for kids! ANY crochet border or edging stitch pattern will work for these. Go nuts!
Karabella Glimmer is an old yarn. I got it at School Products. It is pink with metallic gold thread through it. I think it is discontinued. Some nice substitutes would be Jute yarn, Hemp yarn, anything with a nice texture. Any metallics. E.g. Tahki Stacy Charles metallics like these S. Charles Collezione metallics. Or a novelty yarn.
Hi fellow knitting, crochet, and sewing fanatics! I made my dress for my brother’s graduation! Otherwise known as my Schoolhouse Rock Dress. That day turned out cold and rainy which I wasn’t entirely prepared for :( But it all worked out. We met so many lovely fellow grads from all over the world and their families. Clever, witty, unique, and of course, off to save the world each in their own way. Architecture, Finance, Forestry/Eco, Medicine, Law, Drama, and Healthcare to name a few! Impressive and inspiring all around! We were also treated to a sea of creatively decorated graduation hats, heard some wonderful class speakers that stole the show from Tom Hanks, ate delicious, albeit soggy, sandwiches in makeshift classrooms, and above all helped some graduates celebrate the completion of years of hard work. So congratulations to my brother and his 216 classmates! We heart you, De!
Schoolhouse Rock Dress is a dressier version of the Summer Shift Dress I made. It’s just in a different color and long! I am also wearing my Tri-Strand Cowl over it. I wouldn’t normally pair them both together but had to out of necessity! If you’d like to make this simple yet satisfying knit dress see below for the pattern.
Measurements & Sizing:
Flat Measurements – Width: Approx. 21 inches. Height: Approx. 53 inches. When worn, the dress has a lot of give and drape given the loose knit. So this will fit anywhere from petite sizes to big/tall sizes depending on the look you’d like. I wanted the dress super long past my ankles when belted. I’m 5′ 4” and about 145 pounds. The dress is really roomy and hangs down to my ankles and a few inches off the floor if I’m wearing heels. So it was on the short side. But as the day wore on, it lengthened! So the dress will settle and lengthen to its proper length after a few wears. Hang overnight on a dress form or hanger to help it along!
The full pattern for Summer Shift Dress is here.
The only difference between this dress pattern and the Summer Shift Dress is 2 things –
1. It uses 3 balls of Lang Yarn instead of 2 balls
2. I used US Size 13 [9.00mm] circular needles instead of the US Size 15.
This pattern uses 3 full balls of the Lang Yarn. There were a few scraps to spare but I basically split the 2 pieces, front and back, into 1.5 balls each with a little left over to whipstitch the pieces together. For taller people it might be a good idea to get a 4th ball to add more rows. When Loopy Mango made this dress they added contrasting yarn to the train for some added detail and length!
Unbelted it looks/wears like a giant muumuu or dashiki!
Additional Clothing & Accessories On This Page
Bag – Miss Lonelyhearts
Hat – Stetson
Belt – UNIQLO, 2006
Slip Black – H & M, 2011
Mom’s Dress – Vintage Adolfo – It’s all Machine Knit!
Indian Cuff Shoes – Vintage, Brazil
I love working with multiple strands of yarn. Not sure why, but I do! I saw this piece at Loopy Mango down in Soho and decided to make it! It was a simple and freeform piece that knitted up in a jiffy. It was made by Waejong of Loopy Mango. Anna, the other half of the Loopy Mango, helped me figure out what the pattern was! It’s great for summer-weight yarns. It is knitted using Circular Knitting while holding 3 strands of yarn together. This is a quick and easy pattern. About 8 hours. Great for a travelin’ knit. Perfect for a Beginner knitter who’d also like to try Circular Knitting.
I used an Ella Rae Lace Merino, a fingering weight yarn made in Italy. But the beautiful super-fine yarns over at Habu Textiles would be a perfect substitution! Try one of their exotic handcrafted fibers for an extra special finish.
Pattern #2 of my Beaches, Bikes, & Babes Collection for Spring/Summer 2011. 4 more to come! Twist it up for a double thick cowl or wear it as a hood!
1 Hanks Ella Rae Lace Merino Color #21 – Deep Purple, 100% Superwash Merino Wool, 460 yards. $20 per hank
2 Hanks Ella Rae Lace Merino Color #118 – Maroon, Grey, Charcoal, 100% Superwash Merino Wool, 460 yards. $23 per hank
US Size 13 [9mm] Circular Knitting Needles, 24″. Clover Takumi Velvets, $15
Skill Level: Beginner
Measurements & Sizing*:
Width: Approx. 20 inches
Height: Approx. 19 inches
One Size Fits All
Cast on 108 stitches. I used the Long Tail Cast On.
Mark the end of the row with a stitch marker. Join row.
Rows 1- 10: Knit stitch until end of round
Rows 11- 20: Purl stitch until end of round
Repeat [Rows 1-20] 3 more times!
You will have 4 sets each of Stockinette Stitch and Garter Stitch. A total of 80 rows in all!
Rows 1-7: Knit until end of round
Row 8: Knit 2 together (K2tog), Yarn Over (yo). Repeat until end of round.
Row 9: Knit until end of round.
Row 10: Cast off.
Weave in ends.
Using Crochet: Chain Stitch about 2-3 feet of cord. I used a Crochet Hook Size I [6.00mm]
Weave in through Finish Row #8.
Make some tassels for the cord if you like!
I’m also a loose knitter, so I stopped at 7 sections (70 rows) and then began the Finishing. So I had a total of 8 sections (80 rows) instead of 9 (90 rows) when I was finished. Going back I would have either gone down one needle size to make it less floppy or knitted tighter!
To join in the round and begin circular knitting, it’s simple! Cast on as normal. Then when beginning your next row, knit into the first stitch of your cast on row! That’s really all there is to it.
You are basically connecting the last stitch you just made to the first stitch you made (the one with the slip knot in it). Since the last stitch is the one with the working yarn hanging from it, you will be making a ring out of your cast on row when you knit into the first stitch!
Place your stitch marker right in between the 2 stitches to mark the end of the round. From there you just knit around and around until you’re done with your pattern. Never having to turn your work. Just make sure to check your cast on row for twisted stitches before joining AND that you are always knitting with the “right side” facing you. The side that will be showing when your work is done!
*Measurements and Sizing: The measurements were taken with the piece laid flat, when it looks almost like a square. But the piece has a lot of drape. So when worn, it will stretch and sag to much more than the measurements given. The measurements given are a good minimum size. It is a one size fits all but it may be too big or too small for some. So I would say take some time to swatch it if you are very particular about fit and drape!
Summer Shift Dress by OMG! Heart
So easy and breezy. Inspired by this dress made by Waejong and Anna from Loopy Mango. Super simple satisfying knit. Knit 2 giant rectangles in Garter Stitch all the way around. That’s it! It’s also a very efficient use of yarn. 2 balls was all it took for either a long tunic or shirt dress length top!
Anna helped me figure out this pattern. My version is slightly sportier but can be dressed up or down as you like! I also discovered a new yarn I fell in love with, Lang Yarns Sol Dégradé Collection in Autumn Paint. It. Is. Gorgeous. The colors are amazing and the texture is a curious silk/suede sheen. It is a fine ribbon or tape yarn in the Novelty or Fancy category. Lang Yarns is from Germany.
If you’d like to try the long dress version, it will take a total of 3 balls of Lang Sol Dégradé! Feel free to mix and match yarns. Again, Habu would be a great substitute for a slightly different look/feel and a nice showcase for their exquisite yarns. See here for my post on the Long Summer Shift Dress.
Pattern #1 of my Beaches, Bikes, & Babes Collection to celebrate Spring/Summer 2011. 5 more patterns coming soon!
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Measurements & Sizing*:
Width: Approx. 21 inches
Height: Approx. 30 inches
One Size Fits All
Cast on 50 stitches. I used the Long Tail Cast On.
Rows 1-36: Knit stitch until end of round (You will be knitting very loosely)
Row 37: Cast off. Leave a long tail, about 6-8 inches.
Now you will have 2 rectangles. Join the 2 rectangles at the sides from the bottom corner to about 6-8 inches from the top. *If your pieces are not the same length, it may be safer to join from the 6-8 inches from top down instead. This may leave the piece different lengths but that’s ok too!
For the Armholes: Do not join all the way to to the top. Leave about 6-8 inches from the top for the armholes.
For the Neckline: Join the tops of the 2 pieces from the outer corners in to the middle. About 6-8 inches in. This will leave you with a boatneck style neckline.
Weave in ends.
Finish with an additional border at the bottom with a different yarn. A nice heavy yarn would be perfect to help stabilize the knit and give the piece some body. Simply crochet it on, freeform.
Also, knit the first row pretty tight. Or at least at normal tension. Mix in some tighter rows if you’d like to also help stabilize the piece.
When knitting, use an extremely loose knit. Each loop actually hangs down over an inch from my needles. Varying the stitch “height” makes for a nice texture.
This loose knit stitch is easy but hard to wrangle since the loops are extremely loose. They will slide off the needles if not careful. I did a lot of stitch picking up!
Joining the piece was tough too, the stitches were so loose it was hard to pick out where to join.
Going back I would have chosen a US Size 13 Needle [9.00mm] instead for longer, narrower stitches. But the 15′s were just fine too depending on the look you’d like to have.
Each rectangle takes about 1 ball with more than enough left over to join seams.
The piece will look super short when knitting. It will almost look like a short wide shirt. When you’re done, the looseness and the weight of the yarn will drag it down making it almost knee-length! So don’t worry if it looks too short when complete. Just hang overnight on a dress form or from a hanger.
It’s both flimsy and filmy so choose a nice bikini top, tank, or slip to go underneath. Lovely belted too, which is how I wear it.
*Measurements & Sizing: The measurements for this piece were taken when laid flat. The piece is airy and lightweight but has a good amount of drape due to the very loose knit. So it will stretch and sag indefinitely. The measurements given are a minimum size and will fit most average body-types from very petite to big/tall. I’m 5′ 4″ and about 145 pounds. It fits very loosely on me and hangs down almost to my knees!
Finally my amigurumi army is complete! These crochet critters have been kicking around in my parking lot (or graveyard) of projects in progress since way before my National Crochet Month post. I first made them as party favors for my friend Shahina’s Christmas Party circa 2008. My original 12 crochet critters are now all over the world from Denmark to Singapore to England and all across the United States. This batch was started last year only to be completed last week! My new batch includes some surprise characters – The Gurk Heroes!
Meet the Gurk Heroes [Left to Right]: Feraldan the Archer ~ Sir Rugnar the Knight ~ Gorlok the Wizard!
No, I did not name them. Who are they? These are the characters from the mobile game, Gurk ! They are the very same characters you’ll be playing in this 8-bit RPG game to explore The Wilderness, venture into the Gray Citadel, or hang out in Port Bristle. In short, Gurk is a game for your mobile phone. It’s a throwback to retro gaming that you can now play on your Android phone!
For all those Gurk fans out there who will naturally be reading this knitting blog – get ready to LOSE YOUR MINDS! Gurk II, the sequel to Gurk Original, just dropped a few days ago! Mushroom cloud! These are the characters from the original Gurk. Why do I care? The Mad Scientist made this game!
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But first, would you like to make your very own crochet critters? These amigurumis make a great Beginner Intermediate project in nice bite-sized pieces. Also a great way to try out Circular Crochet or Crochet in the Round. The only drawback with these projects is in the assembly! The crochet part is easy! It’s all the finishing touches and details that take some special care. Each critter consists of 1 head (stuffed with poly-fill), 1 body (stuffed with beans), felt eyes (sewed on), and embroidery floss mouth. You can customize them from there on out.
What You’ll Need
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn, Worsted Weight, 100% Acrylic
364 yards, $3.99 per skein. In lots of assorted colors!
Crochet Hook Size G [4.25mm]
1 Creepy Cute Book
1 Bag Dried Pinto Beans
Poly-Fill or Cotton Balls
Sewing Needle and Thread
Embroidery Floss and Tapestry Needle
Black Felt + Assorted Colors
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
I was at the local Borders Bookshop on a lark when I stumbled upon this book, Creepy Cute by Christen Haden. $10. The book itself is adorable, with great instructions, and a pattern for each of its many creepy critters. About 20 in all. My fave technique I learned from this book is the Magic Ring! All my creepy critters are based on patterns from this book! The Gurk Heroes are a variation on the the creepy critters you’ll find in the book.
Also, thanks to Mr. Gurk Alert himself, John Watkinson, for not only handcrafting Gurk and Gurk II but those darling felt weapons you see on each little Gurklet!
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You will control 3 characters as you wander through the land of Gurk to battle marauding monsters, fight your way through dungeons and dragons, and discover new treasure. In the Gurk sequel, you will also encounter new NPCs to talk to who will give you quests to complete. Confetti!
Gurk is an original RPG written, designed, and developed by John Watkinson! This tour de force was inspired by his love of Ultima and Bard’s Tale II. I remember back in the day when Gurk only lived on a single crappy Nokia candy bar phone. Watkinson’s Nokia phone. That he took out of his pocket in the middle of a dim movie theater. With a screen the size of a postage stamp! Perhaps it was living on a few phones out in Japan, maybe Europe. But back then there were no app markets to be found and Europe and Asia led the free world in mobile technology. So only the truly hardcore managed to find it and download it. But that’s about it. I never played it during its J2ME days but the teensy world made up entirely of colored pixel blocks was cute!
Until one fateful Thanksgiving Day, circa 2010, when he decided to bring it over to Android! I believe he ported the whole thing over in one weekend. Or perhaps across a long weekend. Monstrous. Soon after Gurk got ported from ye olde J2ME (an old mobile OS. NO!) over to Android (YES! My mobile OS of choice.), the sequel came out – and smashingly so!
What’s Great About Gurk II?
I love exploring the new maps, encountering new monsters, weps, and armor. Basically I like discovering new monsters, terrain, weapons, or treasures! And of course playing my new girl toons! Yes, G2 features a new cast of characters including what I like to call The Girls of Gurk! There are 6 new toons to choose from, 9 in all. And they feature 3 female ones! Hooray! You can mix and match them however you like.
You can also try your luck when picking your toons with the re-roll option! Re-roll to try getting the best stats possible for your starting players. As you level up, you will encounter more delightful denizens, graduate from Fish Oil Salve (blecch) to potions and jewels, wield fancier weps and armor, and gain access to new and exotic territories. There is also a whole cache of brand new bosses, dungeons, treasures… and food! Yes, there are provisions in the game now in the form of Jewels, Potions, and Salves. Mmm Mmm.
What else is new? There’s a ship, guys!! Where you can sail across the briny deep while fighting monsters right on deck. If you get bored or are feeling lonely in the land of Gurk, stop and say Hi! to some NPCs who can give you a little smarmy advice or a quest! Oh and one more thing – you can summon your own imps to help you fight!! Pets!! Check out the Gurk Wiki for some Tips & Tricks on gameplay and a rundown of new UI features.
The Music! Something Chiptune fans will especially appreciate. Gurk II includes an original score also by Watkinson himself. And is a swoon-worthy homage to Chiptunes circa late 80′s. And it’s good, guys! SCOOP: The soundtrack to Gurk II was originally composed in the mid-90s. He dug them up and decided to use them in G2. So actually, they were an homage created during the 8-bit heyday and therefore better classified as vintage! So these original vintage chiptunes are a super bonus IMHO that many otakus of the 8-bit RPG genre will appreciate. The final release version includes SFX too! I have yet to play the final release. But once I finish playing through beta, I will check it out! I don’t want to give up my OP Flame Chant just yet! Plus, my toons are looking sharp in their OP gear.
What are 8-bit games?
Think Nintendo NES. Yes, like Super Mario Brothers and Duckhunt! The pioneers of modern day personal gaming or home gaming consoles, first made popular in the late 80s. Or arcade games like Donkey Kong or Pac-Man. Some other notables include Sega and the console that sparked it all, Atari. Usually defined by pixelated graphics and rudimentary animations. Simple gameplay. Retro! Read all about The History of the Game Console on Wikipedia!
What are RPGs?
Role Playing Games. Which became more popular during the home console 8-bit revolution. Most notable are Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda. The gameplay is turn-based which means it’s usually along the lines of “Do you want to enter the dragon’s lair?” Yes or No! “Press 1 to Attack” and so on. They usually include things like knights and dragons, quests and spells, swords and armor… RPGs back then also had the tendency to attract girl gamers, there weren’t many options that appealed to the handful of girl gamers in the 80s.
All modern day RPGs can trace their roots right back to role playing card games like Dungeons and Dragons. Yikes. RPGs today come in many flavors. And includes the modern day quintessential juggernaut of the genre, World of Warcraft. A suped up version of RPGs otherwise known as an MMORPG! Less turn-based but every bit the consummate RPG. It’s a living, real-time RPG where you can game with players from all over the world. It’s a sub-culture unto its own.
Meet the Developers
You can learn more about Gurk, John Watkinson, and Matt and John’s nerdery for profit – Larva Labs on their website. This duo of mobile software developers makes all kinds of apps for iPhone, Android, Sidekick, and iPad. Including the popular Androidify! Fun x 4 = All!
In the meantime, check out Gurk II on the big screen at this year’s Google Developer Conference, Google IO 2011. It was fully functional!