Wednesday, January 30, 2013

OWL Proposal - Argyle!

Proposal - Post 1887

Yes, the Crazy got me again, and I decided to try a potions OWL. Now I've learned that an OWL has to be something I really REALLY want, so this time, I'm doing a very particular sweater. Here's the proposal:

Hello, Professors! This is CraftyGryphon of Gryffindor House. I would like to sit for my O.W.L. Examination in Potions this term. I will be taking Option 1: Create something using multiple strands of yarn or fiber in the same object. The intent of this exam is to demonstrate an ability to work with color and value. Knitters, this is an opportunity to go wild with stranded designs, double knitting, intarsia, etc.

I propose to make an Argyle Sweater. I was given a drop-dead lovely one for Christmas this year - and it was much too small. I still want the sweater, though (and go figure, it’s fashion, so of course it’s been discontinued - not that it would matter, it was never made in my size to begin with!). So, I need to knit one for myself!

Of course, I don’t’ actually have a pattern. I have a schematic, so once I had gauge (see below), I was able to figure out exactly what I was knitting. Since the sweater is fairly wide across, there will be a total of five diamonds across, front and back. I will also be doing some subtle waist shaping, as knitting straight leads to boxy, and “boxy” does not flatter my figure at all. I want an argyle motif on each sleeve, as well.

Photograph(s) of the yarn(s) and any unusual needles or materials involved.
Materials List:
3.5 balls off white, 3 balls black and 7 balls red of Paton’s Classic Wool
2 balls Vanna’s Choice in Silver
Size 7 bamboo needles
Yarn needle

Two or three sentences describing the planned crafting sequence and analyzing any areas of potential difficulty or new skills needed.

I’m going to be knitting the front and the back pieces of the sweater separately, checking sizing for each against my master schematic as I go, making sure the level of my diamonds match up, that the shaping matches up, etc. Once the front and back pieces are properly completed, I’ll block them, then do all the duplicate stitch. Then I’ll seam them and weave in the ends. Then I’ll do the set-in sleeves, top down, INSETTING AS I GO. (Yes, *with* Intarsia!) I’ve found this is the best way to (a) make sure the short rows are placed so the shoulder cap fits me and (b) I have no idea how this is actually going to work with intarsia. That’s part of the adventure, yes? Then the sleeves will be blocked, the duplicate stitches added to them, and all the ends woven in. Then the whole sweater will be blocked once again, just to be sure. And then I will FINALLY have my Christmas sweater, wooo!

The difficulty is (a) this sweater involves four panesl of intarsia in three different colors (four if you count the duplicate stitch), which I’ve done exactly once before; (b) it is almost all-over duplicate stitch with SPARKLY YARN, even once the actual knitting is finished; and (c) this is NOT a small sweater. I am not a small girl; this is going to be fitted to me, which is commercially somewhere between 2X and 3X. That’s a lot of stockinette - and did I mention it’s INTARSIA? Plus, my OWL completion rate has been dismal - of the seven I have attempted, I’ve only managed to finish three, so I’m trying to make a proposal that I actually have a CHANCE of finishing in three months. No More Dead OWLs!

Photograph of your swatch(es).

I have one swatch, which shows the basic Argyle diamond that is the basis of the design, complete with the duplicate stitch across it. I have blocked it, and used the resulting gauge to make my schematic. I used the swatch to try different things with the silver yarn; one strand on the bottom of the white diamond, and two strands looped on the top. On the black diamond are two strands parallel, which gives the best result, so that's what I'll be using for the sweater. There's also a photo of the swatch in progress, so you can see that it really truly is intarsia, and not stranded.

I really think this project is OWL-worthy given the time available and my skill set, Professors. Just in case you were worried that I'd have too much time, I carefully delayed my proposal until last minute. (Um. Really... it's not that life got squirrelly on me again or anything.) Thanks for your consideration!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Going a bit nuts for the Muggle Studies assignment

For Muggle Studies this month, we needed to discover a muggle Wrock (Wizard Rock) band. Since I already had one on my iPod (okay, okay, several), it was pretty easy. What wasn't so easy was finding one I liked with a logo - any logo at all! Ended up creating my own.

Here's the turn-in post:

Gosh, Professors, how did you know there was a Mudbloods reunion concert last night?? Like THE Mudbloods?
They have so many songs I love, but my favorite is t his one: Freedom is Only a Hippogryff Away

Well, hippogriffs come flying in the morning
And leave me here alone.
And if I wait here long enough to meet them
I know my day is done.

And when they take me flying in the sky,
I'll be singing hallelujahs out loud!
I'll lift my arms and feel the wind a' blowin'
I'll laugh aloud and raise my wand.

And with a little bit of love,
With a little bit of life,
With a little bit of sunshine?
You know that I'll be gone!

When I reach my destination shore,
My cave out by the sea?
I'll sit all day by my fire drinking whisky
'Til I know my name is clean.

And with a little bit of love,
With a little bit of life,
With a little bit of sunshine?
You know that I'll be gone!

And, of course, here's the (OMG I HAVE A MUDBLOODS BUTTON!!!) button I got! Seriously, it's like this menacing "M" staring at you from a pool of blood, but that's just the "B" turned on its side. Eee!

I hadn't seen the opening act, Dragonclaw, before - I think they're new, but they were really good. More hard wrock than The Mudbloods, who are really more indie-wrock, don't you think? Anyway, eventually they came on - even Adam was back with the band, which was SOOOOO cool. They sang everything off their albums, and some of the special stuff they'd done with The Harry Potters, and a couple of covers. (Is there a wrock band out there that DOESN'T cover ALLCAPS's "Lumos Flies"?) Seriously, it was so much fun that I didn't even mind that you hadn't enclosed a return ticket home - that's what brooms are for, right? I was so happy I probably could've flown home WITHOUT the broom, anyway!

BEST. CONCERT. EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

I can do... something.

So, instead of knitting, I've been using most of this week to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

And, just so you know, I'm evidently "growing up" at the end of next week.

So far, the things under consideration, in no particular order, are:
  1. Writer (short stories, novels, nonfiction)
  2. Cartoonist (strip or page)
  3. Designer (cross-stitch, knitting, crochet and stained glass)
  4. Artist (stained glass, painting)
  5. Musician (new age)
Worst case, I go back to pushing paper in an office somewhere - which isn't really a "worst" at all. And if I end up procrastinating the heck out of whatever it is I choose to do, I should wind up with a clean, organized house, cleaned out garage, organized yarn stash, and all the furniture in the house build, rearranged and finished.

Why now? Because I finally figured out that I'm getting a chance to *actually pursue* my dreams. If you get a chance like this, grab it with both hands! Even if you crash and burn, you'll have tried!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Back from Bronchitis

Didn't do much knitting last week (and didn't post at all) due to being one of the 1.28 million Americans that had the flu. Here's the Hexipuff Tally from last week, though... Wheee!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Descent into (Hexipuff) Madness

The second part of my Hermionie Badge for January was my first class. The prompt for Divination was really cool - the professors do a great job of putting down a cool little scene for each class - but one of the options was "cat", so I stopped there.

This is my very first Hexipuff, which is a Siamese Cat (sorta, but you get the idea).

Hexipuffs are a THING.

Basically, you knit up a little two-sided hexagon and fill it with stuffing. Jess, has this great process photo on her blog Make & Do Girl, which really explains it well:

This is Jess's photo from this post, which gives you a good window into that which is Hexipuff Mania.

(While going through her blog, I also found this photo, which makes me even more determined to get to the Lion Brand store in NYC at some point. And to keep reading Jess's blog.)

I also, whilst looking at all the amazing Hexipuff/Beekeeper things out there, found a tiny Slytherin snake chart (and a Hufflepuff badger) here on BirdHeartsBear's blog. And oooo! There's a Gryffindor lion, a Ravenclaw eagle and a Snitch chart here!! Hooray!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Getting on The Crazy Train

So, new year, new term at Hogwarts/HPKCHC (which means regular blog updates again)! I'm a Gryffidor this term (a B-1... guess starting again as a firstie wasn't allowed), and Gryffidor is all about the Badges. The first one up is a Hermione Badge (collecting three of these lets you trade in for a previous train badge you might have missed... um, Gryffindor also has a Crazy Train, with an Engine badge, a Caboose badge, and badges for each month. Hermione badges are not redeemable for Engines or Cabooses.). To get it, you have to finish and turn in a detention project *and* your first class. This was my detention project: the Shadowbox Mitts I dreamt up during the Woolly Thoughs class I attended in October.

Here they are with the pieces all stitched together:
And here's the number of ends that needed to be woven in:

Yeah, that was a little hairy. And may or may not be *completely* finished just yet... but enough so that they're wearable, which is why I'm wearing them today.

(Well, that, and because they look REALLY COOL.)