Saturday, April 28, 2007

Stripy shadow mittens

Inspired by James's current shadow knit scarf project, I've been dying to try some shadow knitting of my own, hence these mittens.

Shadow knitting(also illusion knitting) uses stripes of contrasting colours, using stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch to create ridges. Making patterns in the ridges lets you add pictures which only show up from certain angles. I'm using this book as a guide, and it seems very good.

So, the plan for these mittens is to have a big "L" and "R" on the back of each hand. Happily, the hands seem to work out just the right size to make a clear "R" shape(because shadow knitting patterns repeat every four rows, I think they need to be pretty big).
To break up the horizontal stripes a bit, I wanted to add some vertical stripes to the ribbing on the cuffs - knitting them stranded, with the purl parts one colour and the knit parts the other(I'm told this is called corrugated ribbing), but there are some issues here, corrugated ribbing isn't a springy as normal rib, so it won't grip as well. To get around this I decided to rib half of the cuff normally and half corrugated, hopefully this will be enough to keep it in place and enough of a stripe to look good.
It'll be interesting to see how it feels to wear too, since the ridges make for a slightly odd texture on the inside.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hopf link/torus family

The torus family consists of interlocking blue and pink tori(the parents), and a small white baby torus.

So, mathematically, the 'parent' tori form a Hopf link In maths, a knot is an embedding of a circle into space, the point being that you can arrange your circle in such a way that no amount of stretching it about can transform it into the standard circle, without making one part of the circle pass through another. A link is a generalisation of this idea, in which you have more than one circle. The basic problem is then to decide whether or not it's possible to seperate them.

I made a set of these once before, which are currently living with my older sister.
This time around, I decided to elongate them a bit, that makes them more moveable and you can put them into more positions(in the first set, you could spin them both round, but the whole in the middle was about the size as the thickness of the other torus, that was all)
Aren't they cute?


Yoda hat

So, the idea was to make a silly hat for a friend who goes by the nickname Yoda.
To do this, I took Knitty's Coronet hat design, and added on some ears. The ears are just triangular pieces, but they're sewed on curling round at the edges. This makes them stronger, so they don't flop over, as well as being more ear-like. What do you think, are they the same shape as Yoda's?

Bad things - the ears are still not very strong, so you can make them stay out but I doubt they'll stay up long when it's actually worn. Possibly smaller needles for them would have made them more rigid. And if you look closely you'll see a big seam on the cable band right in the middle - that should be at the back, but foolishly I've sewn the ears on backwards. D'oh. Of course the *biggest* problem is that it took me four months to get round to sewing it together :o/
But I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and I think the ears turned out far better than I could expect, given that they're really just triangles.
Now I just need to track Yoda down to give her her new hat!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Crab torus

Continuing with the torus-shaped toys, I think a crab would be a nice shape to make.
I'll make the main body to the usual torus pattern, then add on eight legs, two pincers, and two stalks for eyes.
The legs need to have 'knee' joints(do crabs have knees?) which bend at various different angles, the back ones bending quite far back, the front ones point a little forwards.
The claws... I was thinking about adding little pockets you could put your fingers in and move the claws, but I think each claw will have to be just one piece - I couldn't come up with a good way to make them in two pieces that would work once it's stuffed. Stuffing doesn't seem to agree with concavity.
The eyes - anatomical controversy here: I'm convinced crabs eyes are on little stalks, but I couldn't find any pictures that made them look that way. On the other hand, when I tried drawing little designs, the ones with eye-stalks just look *right*. I'm assuming for now that their eyes are on stalks, but because the shell is on the outside they don't stick out much.
To make these, I'll knit some little balls and put google eyes on them. The stalks will be supported with my newest experimental thingy, curtain wire. I'm hoping this'll be more durable, less prone to poking, and more child-friendly than the pipe cleaners I've been using up til now.

I'll try to update this with a diagram to illustrate all this once I draw one. I was going to add a photo of the diagram I'm working from, but it's really shockingly bad. I mean *shockingly*.


Sunday, April 1, 2007

Cable jumper

I finally finished my cabley-heart jumper!
The idea behind it was to use cables as part of a design, rather than just a pattern. I think it's using the same sort of idea as this, although vastly less complicated.
The colours I'm not entirely happy with, I was originally planning it to be quite a bit lighter, and with a lot less contrast between the two colours, so that the panel would come out quite subtle and not too eye-catching, but finding a colour which would fit with the main colour and not be pink proved difficult.
There were a couple of technical issues that came up - first, working the 'twists' to make the cables move apart and together, there's a question of whether the purl stitches outside the cable(which make it stand out) should be cabled too - I decided they should be, which makes my cables effectively five stitches wide and with a bit of a crease so they won't stand up. It's really not ideal. The alternative is to leave them alone, in which case the outside edge of the gutter would not be a continuous column any more, it would have to gain and lose stitches from the other side, which I think would leave a bit of a ragged boundary. I'm not sure how much that'd show up. I guess a third possibility would be to use increases and decreases in the gutter part to make them move - put an increase in the trailing edge and a decrease on the leading and it should move across a stitch. I don't know, I'd have to try it. Does anyone know how to do this?

Another problem was the coloured panel. Because stitches from inside the panel need to be cabled to outside the panel, the different thread sometimes showed through where the cable stitch was going to. This would probably be much less of a problem if the contrast between the two wasn't so strong. It might also be solved by fixing the first problem, so there wasn't so much pressure on these stitches in the first place. Again, I don't know, and advice would be helpful?
Still, there's a lot I like about it, and it was great fun making a big project.