Sunday, November 16, 2014

Turnin' Tricks

A couple of months ago I helped out on a 48 Hour Film, which was totally amazing and exhausting and hilarious. My post about the experience is here: A 48-hour adventure.

We were among the four films nominated for 'Best Musical Score' from this year's batch of Melbourne films (although we didn't win), and our music team actually won a prize from a film-making school!

The film is up on Youtube now, so enjoy! Keep an eye out for me, Willie, Julian, and Chloe (aka 'the band'). Celena is starring (and rapping)...

Pattern sale alert!

Hey knitters and crochet peeps, the Gift-A-Long sale has now begun! 


Eleven of my patterns will be 25% off until the 21st of November, with the coupon code giftalong2014 on Ravelry:
The list of all the participating designers is here, with links to their on-sale patterns (or if you like to browse on Pinterest, all the patterns are here).
Once you have your yarn and patterns, come and join the fun in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group to share project photos and be in to win prizes.
The Gift-A-Long will run
from now until the end of December.


I'll be joining the sweaters/cardigans/etc knit-a-long, with the Park Slope top by Laura Aylor. It should be a useful top for spring and autumn, and I have some really rich and beautiful Vintage Purls Sock yarn all wound into balls and ready to go. :)

If I have time, I also have my eye on the Fightin' Words mitts, and Findlinge shawl. The Wesley Bobs Christmas tree decorations also caught my eye, and as for the Persian Dreams blanket... just go take a look. Seriously.

Friday, November 14, 2014

New pattern: Paper Snowflake

The final pattern in my 'Paper Hats' series is now available: Paper Snowflake. 

As you might have guessed, this one was inspired by the Christmas-time ritual of cutting out paper snowflakes to use as decorations. Even those of us who have only ever had summery Christmases know how to make these! 



Features: 
  • a snowflake pattern outlined with simple 2-stitch cables
  • the 'cut-outs' are filled with purl stitches for textural contrast
  • both charts and written instructions
  • five sizes - for babies, kids, and adults

You will need one ball of Morris Empire 4ply (except for the Adult Large, which requires two balls), or one ball of White Gum Wool 4ply. If substituting yarn, you'll need 100-215 yards of a smooth, bouncy sock or fingering-weight yarn.

If you haven't made 'proper' six-pointed snowflakes before, here's a good tutorial: How to make 6-pointed paper snowflakes 

And just for fun, here are a couple more tutorials for neat paper toys I remember making long, long ago. The water balloon is particularly cool:
Inflatable origami water balloon
Origami 'popper'
Origami hopping frog

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Willie and I had fun taking photos of me in my hat (an 'adult small', in the insanely soft White Gum 4ply), around our neighbourhood. Brunswick is excellent for photo opportunities. :)





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's Gift-A-Long time!

Hey crafting folks! If you plan to knit or crochet Christmas gifts and/or you want to make something special for yourself, there’s something exciting happening. A big group of indie knit and crochet designers have teamed up for the Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry, which will run from 13 November to 31 December 2014.


If you enjoy taking part in knit/crochet-alongs (KALs/CALs), there will be forum threads for each type of item (hats, shawls, mittens, etc), and heaps of prizes to be won - both physical prizes and pattern downloads. The idea is to kick-start our gift-knitting and have fun along the way.

If you need patterns, there will be a sale during the first week of the Gift-A-Long. The participating designers (all 293 of us) will each have a selection of our patterns discounted at 25% off. The sale period is 13-21 November. You can see my on-sale patterns collected here

All the details are over in the Gift-A-Long group.

One of our designers put together this graphic with some stats about the GAL (click to enlarge). Check out the "designers per capita" graph! ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New pattern: Paper Boat

Introducing number four in my 'Paper Hats' series of patterns: Paper Boat.
I think it would make a great pirate captain's hat for dress-ups!


Features:
  • a wide turned-up brim and pointed crown, to form the boat shape 
  • simple to knit, using only knit + purl stitches and basic decreases
  • knit in the round from the brim up
  • written instructions
  • five sizes - for babies, kids, and adults
  • will not actually float ;)

For the baby/toddler sizes, you will need one 50g ball of Morris Empire 4ply, or two balls for the larger sizes. I decided to use a marled black & white yarn to mimic newsprint (Empire 4ply in 'Beluga Twist'). If substituting yarn, you will need 145-310 yards of smooth, bouncy sock/fingering-weight yarn.

If you'd like to fold some 'proper' paper boats, here are a couple of tutorials which I think are nice and clear:
Origami Boat Instructions
Origami Boat

Monday, November 3, 2014

A bounty of books

A few exciting packages have arrived lately, because I've been buying books!

I ordered a shiny new copy of June Hemmons Hiatt's The Principles of Knitting, which I've been hankering after for ages. It's very in-depth, and will obviously take me quite a while to absorb. I really like having actual reference books around! The internet is a fount of all knowledge, yes, but often I just want to grab a familiar book when I need information on a technique...

Suitably attired!

I also found these second-hand knitting books going cheap on Ebay: Montse Stanley's Knitting Your Own Designs for a Perfect Fit, and Barbara Walker's Charted Knitting Designs. I have plenty to learn about garment construction, and I find stitch patterns endlessly fascinating. I'm still on the lookout for Barbara Walker's other stitch dictionaries.

They're older books, but most of the information is still useful and current.
I want to learn more about knitted garment construction as I think I might like to try designing a sweater sometime. And in the meantime, I'll be better equipped to tweak other people's designs fit me properly. :)


A peek inside...

And last but not least, I ordered my own score of Handel's Messiah. I've joined a new choir (at the Scots' Church in the central city), and we'll be performing it this December. The new choir is going well so far - there are plenty of good singers, and we've done some interesting music. I feel like I'm diving into the 'other half' of the choral repertoire, i.e. the Protestant side of things. Good thing I like Bach. ;)

I think I'm the only choir-geek in the English-speaking world who's never been in a Messiah performance, so this will be interesting! I know two of the choruses already (and the soprano solos of course), so that's a start. I just need this damn cold to go away so I can start learning my parts...

"Hallelujah", etc etc...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New pattern: Paper Planes

The third pattern in my 'Paper Hats' set is out - this one's called Paper Planes. A tutorial for making my favourite made-of-actual-paper planes (like the ones in the photos) is included below. I couldn't find one online for this method, so I made my own. :)


Features:
  • textured paper-plane shapes, outlined with twisted stitches
  • a cosy garter-stitch brim
  • both charted and written instructions
  • five sizes - for babies, kids, and adults
  • requires only one 50g ball of Merino Soft 4ply from Skeinz
    (or 85-185 yards of 4ply/sock/fingering weight yarn)

There are two kinds of twisted stitches used: the 'normal' one, i.e. knitting through the back loop of a stitch, plus its mirror image, which is slightly more complicated. You slip the stitch knitwise, then slip it back the left needle purlwise, and finally knit the stitch. I've abbreviated this as 'skw spw k', which in my head tends to turn into 'skew spew knit'!


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Best Paper Planes
- A tutorial by Amy van de Laar

You will need a pair of scissors, and a sheet of paper - printer paper is fine, or coloured paper if you choose. I usually use a sheet of A4 paper (or a halved sheet of A4). Take care to line up the edges/corners well when you make your folds, and try to make your folds nice and crisp.

1. Fold your paper in half lengthwise, and open it out again:


2. Fold each of the top corners down, to meet the central fold from step 1:


3. Fold the top triangle down, lining up the point with the central fold:


4. Fold your rectangle in half lengthwise, with your folded triangle visible on the outside:


5. Snip a small-ish square out of the top outer corner:


6. Open out your rectangle, with your folded triangle visible on top:


 7. Fold each of the top corners down, to meet the central fold:


8.  Fold the little triangle up, so that the folded parts are 'locked' in place:


9.  Fold your plane in half lengthwise, with the folded parts visible on the outside:


10. Fold down your wings (flight-testing will help you find the best angle):


11. Test out your airplane!


© Amy van de Laar 2014.