Friday, July 22, 2011

Dusting off the neglect - with cute undies!

Hi! My name is Dave, maybe.
Finally I have some finished projects to detail. This includes items that are gifts for my sister. Unfortunately two in progress gifts started at earlier times were not finished in time to ship. Oh well. I may debate whether or not to upload the pics at this time. It's Friday now and her birthday is Sunday. With luck her package will arrive on Saturday. That's not a lot of time there to spoil a surprise I suppose. I won't feel the least bit concerned if she opens her box on Saturday. I suppose if she snoops around and sees pics and descriptions here in the meantime she'll either have a short period of happy expectation waiting for her box to arrive or she'll avoid any additional time waiting to be disappointed or unimpressed. Let's move on!

pupils centered
Since I am drawn to quirky personalities and especially quirky patterns with personality (maybe that answers a question if my good friend, Jim, is subscribed to updates) I adore many of the characters depicted in KnitWit: 20 Projects for Beginners and Seasoned Knitters by Katie Boyette. Per my sister's request I had already knit her a sock monster along with several monster sized socks for it to wear. So it seems that an underwear monster is the next thing. If I'd had more time I might have made one or two more monsters, each wearing a different article of clothing.

small eye pinned slightly lower

I found myself torn between aligning the underwear monster's eyes or shifting them. Since Dave (the pattern monster) is shown at an angle to the page I'd gotten used to the sight of him with one eye lower than the other. When I pinned them on with the centers at the same height he just didn't look as cute to me. So I took pictures of him with the eyes pinned each way to decide. Admittedly, the difference is very small anyway.

I also pondered whether or not it was better to sew the eyes on with the white eye color or with the body color. I did the large eye first and used white but felt that the body color would have been a better choice. 

body color yarn attaches
white yarn to attach
one white, one body color

So then I started sewing on the smaller eye with the body color. I think I ended up pulling the yarn tail between the edge of the eye and the stitches attaching it to cover the edge of the eye. Then when I finished the small eye I fished the yarn back to the larger eye and duplicate stitched the body color over the stitches attaching the eye to the body. In the end I concluded that it really didn't matter either way. But originally I'd been very upset by the white attaching stitches seeming like they were in the plane of the body. Because the eyes are so very bulbous that troubled me; there's a chance that tension might have made a difference, but I just focused on whether one color made more sense than the other.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The fourth or sixth time is a charm, I think

Well I've been dragging along with my second llama.  Not sure why overall as I was so looking forward to this adventure.  Perhaps I made it a tedious challenge.  I was just noticing this as I redid the face.  Not sure if the current and final version is the fourth or sixth I've completed, but I'm feeling very sure about it and it is bound off.

The llamas body is only just started, but I improvised what it's going to look like with the body parts that I do have done.  It will be far cuter when I get to the top of the head and the loops that match the colors on the face.

To visualize how the extra colors would look I sampled and painted colors over a snapshot of Frenchy, the first llama. I tried several versions and arrived at the last after realizing that the color that I'd thought was the darkest llama yarn I had wasn't the darkest after all.  Following the coloring I saw on a llama called Macarena, I needed a lighter dark for the loops on the top of the head and a darker dark for the face color around the eyes.  One of the most visible things my new llama is still lacking is a nose and mouth. (Well besides a completed body and also overlooking the fact that the eyes and eyelids are just pinned on.)  For Frenchy I deliberately made her nose with curly nostrils because it seemed so many llama portraits showed sculptural nostrils.  Lately I've been thinking she looks slightly melancholy, so I'm hoping to create a more joyful expression for my new llama.

A very early version of my color/stitch chart

I needed a more precise model for figuring out the actual placement of color on the face, so I ultimately used blocking pins to frame where the color changes should be based on my colored photo and the coloring on the inspiration llama.  I made a chart for myself based on this. I don't know that it's a type or method of chart that anyone else uses, but it made sense to me.  I started with a hand drawn version of ovals arranged in a circle.  Where I needed to make an increase I drew a line through the middle of an oval to make two stitches out of one.  And on the next row there would be an additional stitch as a whole oval.

In the end I drew my chart in Illustrator.  I had a variety of oval widths representing the stitches, but that's because each time a stitch was added in a row there would need to be an extra stitch in the next row, making the next row of ovals slightly narrower so they'd fit.  If it weren't so blurry it would be clear how the white/snowball yarn is caught behind the dark yarn when I flipped the face over to purl back.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Intarsia in the round face

Pixie Hound
Well I suppose it's not enough to work four legs at a time.  It was a great deal of fun, especially on the 10th when I was sitting in a waiting room at Quest. One of the children sitting nearby said to his mom that I was making a reindeer. Actually the color is perfect for that and the way my circular needles held all the legs together it looked like I might just work all the way up the body that way. I suppose that could be a possibility for a pattern with legs attached like an actual animal like the Pixie hounds and not attached like a doll, like the llama.
From here I continued my grand plan for the drama llama llama by attempting to mimic the dramatic color scheme of a few similarly colored llamas.

Next I'm focusing on the colors on the face. It's a bit hard to tell, but I plan that the dark brown areas will be under the eyes.  I'm crossing my fingers that it's going to work out okay.  It is intarsia in the round using a technique I learned from the Inside Intarsia with Anne Berk dvd.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Four at a time llama llama legs

French Silk, aka Frenchy.
This first llama was crocheted.
I've managed to pull myself away from omgpop long enough to make some progress on knitting a llama from this crochet pattern.  I started by knitting the first foot and working up the leg, using the cylinder of the leg to measure my knit in the round gauge and comparing that to my crochet gauge.  For comparison I was using the same yarn in a different color and needles and hook with the same mm rating.

Techknitter's disappearing loop cast on was essential as I never had a method for knitting a circle from the inside out before.  That was one of the easy things to do in crochet that I wasn't sure I'd be able to do knitting.  The second obstacle was figuring out how to knit a loop stitch.  Actually, I found a few methods and all of them required me to turn the work when I got to loops rows just like crochet does.  The technique I adopted was to draw a loop over my left index finger and then pull both of the loop strands through the stitch still on my left needle.  (I knit continental.)  Then I move the 2 strand loop from the right needle to the left needle and knit through the back loop the 2 new loops along with the one from the previous row that was still waiting on the left needle.  I saw a method demonstrated on YouTube that uses American/English style, but I really don't want to convert to a method I find clunky and labor intensive.  Not when I can hold the yarn in my left hand as if I was crocheting and have my left hand take up some of the work by pivoting back and forth.  Seems there are a few variations which instruct one to alternate loop stitches rather than loop rows. I'm finding that loop and regular knit rows alternated seems to produce a greater row height than plain knit rows alone.  Since I have many rows to alternate I'm just going to keep going and when I've knit more than an inch high I'll measure it and decide how to adjust the number of rows to knit.

I've completed one row with all four legs together, after knitting three legs at a time up to that point to catch them up to the first leg I started.  I also took apart the first leg and added a few rows to it.  I'd knit a single row of Miski Snowflake and left a really long tail of rust in the first leg specifically to give me the easiest method for adjusting the first leg if I needed to later.  Using the row of snowflake as if it was waste yarn in the method Cat Bordhi defines for creating tentacles on her Jester Tentacles Bag (Ravelry link) in her book A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting I just turned the first leg inside out and freed the low end of rust. I caught loops from both the rust and snowflake yarn on dpns while unraveling one row from the loosened end.  Then I split spliced (a.k.a. spit spliced) a ball of snowflake onto the loose end.  I knit more rows in snowflake since I had variable amounts of that color on the feet of all the other legs and all of them were much more than a single row.  Besides the first leg initially having significantly less snowflake color, I decided to add on a few more rows of knitting to the height of the leg, but had already completed two rounds of loop knitting at the top of the leg.  Adding height with the snowflake color at the foot/leg junction was the ideal solution.  Somehow I managed to add the first leg while having the foot point the opposite direction.  Since the legs have no shaping, this shouldn't matter.

What makes knitting so completely superior to crochet?
The ability to work multiple items at the same time on the same needles is the best reason I can give.  I'd started each of the feet individually and then worked them up to equal points and put them all on two circular needles.  The same method that Cat Bordhi introduces in Socks Soar on Circular Needles can be used to knit a single cylindrical type item in the round, but you also can continue to add extra work (I only do copies of the same item and line them up in the same place to avoid confusion) as long as you have a free end of yarn to knit with.

For socks, I wind up about half a hank of yarn into a center pull ball, then take if off the ball winder and set it into the middle of the box of my Tilta Swift.  I'll take the remainder of the hank off, turn it inside out so the inside end is on the outside, then using that end wind up a second center pull ball leaving the yarn that connects the two uncut.  I usually drop these siamese twins into a small yarn sack and work from each end at the same time.  It can be a bit funky casting on for two at a time.  I really can't explain just how I do it myself even.  Sometimes are clunkier than others. But with this method I can be assured that my socks really are twins.  There are times (might not happen now) when I've had to make a decision about something and not been certain of exactly how I interpreted an instruction or improvised to be able to do the same thing again in a second sock.  Finally, I really don't have the correct personality for doing the same thing two or four different times if I can make two or four versions at the same time.  The only trick then, and you learn it fairly fast, is to make sure you are using the correct yarn end for each sock or item.  Each one needs it's own end of yarn.  This is a trick I use when I'm not sure I'm going to have enough yarn, like in the llama feet, but I want to use up as much as I can of the first color or want to be certain that the second color will start in exactly the same place on multiple items.  (The llama legs don't start with a different color in the same place because I decided synchronized color changes was not a requirement for this project.)

With socks you will need to work one heel at a time at the part of the pattern where your rounds turn into rows.  It's such a short amount of the whole that even I can manage it.  The only other difficulty is when you are working patterns with decreases.  The order for your work is to knit side A of sock 1 then side A of sock 2 then side B of sock 2 and side B of sock 1.  You may find that you need to k2tog with one stitch on one circular needle and one on the other AND there is no way to reach it yet.  If it's on the right end in the right direction (will usually be the second sock or the one that's on your left at the start of each new round) you just slip the stitch from one needle to the other.  But if it's the last stitch on the first needle for the first sock you won't get to the second k2tog stitch until you've completed the second half of the second sock.  But this is easy to work around by slipping the first k2tog stitch off onto a removable marker or suitable safety pin and then sliding the marker onto the second needle where the second stitch for the k2tog lives.

Currently I am using 3 balls of yarn to knit the four legs.  This is also where my Fiberspheres are shining. I am using the outside end and inside end of one ball at the same time in the large Fibersphere.  And two small Fiberspheres are unfolded and then snapped together (like a figure 8) to hold each of the other two balls separately.  I'm hoping for no big tangling problems and haven't had any so far.  I'm trying to be very consistent about turning my work first one way and then the other (clockwise/counterclockwise) so that I'm not winding up the yarn strands for each half round.  I'm winding and then immediately unwinding by turning in the opposite direction.  (In retrospect, I found that the single ball of yarn strands twisted anyway, but with no tension on them they didn't actually tangle.  I could easily push back the strand I wasn't using even though it spiraled around the other strand.)

I realize this would be better with more pictures to tell the story, but really, I'm not feeling up to illustrating all of it with examples.  And there's probably information about this in other places that truly are more like resources anyway.  I always look to Techknitter first when I have any question or challenge.  She is amazing.  Maybe later I'll mention how I kitchener stitched the first leg back together using her knitting needle (not tapestry needle) method.  Or I'll just link it now because I'm feeling lazy - no efficient.  Efficiency rules.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Well this has taken far too long

I've been away much longer than I expected.  Not in body so much as in mind.  I'd just been detoured onto omgpop via yahoo and playing way too much Draw My Thing.  It was such great fun for quite a while.  And then I found myself tangled up in a rift between two other players, which has tarnished the experience quite a bit for me.  I think it will be fun again, but in the mean time I'm limiting my time there and focusing my attention and energy on other fun things that I had been neglecting.

Had I not been distracted I probably would have the second llama finished already.  I am knitting a crochet pattern.  I checked the gauge and am hoping now that I made a note of that in Ravelry so I can be sure what my numbers are.  I do have the recollection that I need 2 more knit rows to equal the same height of crochet rows.

My progress so far is a barely started body, three feet and a leg that could be in the half done range.  Had a terrible time getting a decent photo of the three feet.  I was working each on double points until I got to 42 sts in the round and started knitting the first 2 together on a set of two circulars.  Realizing I was running low on the dark brown for feet I clipped on strand and started the third foot, knit until I ran out of color and then switched to white.  Ultimately all where switched to white and when the progress on the third foot had caught up to the first two I put it on the circulars as well.

I reviewed as many llama photos as I could, paying particular attention to the feet, and concluded that often their feet do not all match.  So my second llama will look like it's wearing spats that are uneven.  I don't even know what I will do for the third llama yet, but I have llama yarn for it, possibly even a fourth.

It's prettier in person ;o)
After photographing the feet and leg I noticed a mini-skein of what I think is Malabrigo sock that was sent to me as a sample when I ordered other yarn.  I hope at some time I'll verify where it came from, but I suppose it isn't absolutely necessary.  I am pretty sure of what it is just from memory, but not the colorway. I kind of hope there is enough there to make a sock for my sister's sock monster.  Otherwise, I am not sure just what I'd do with a very small amount of sock yarn.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Knit a llama llama, a drama llama

I've started a knit version of Coquena the llama and am using llama yarn, of course, progress toward an eventual fiber menagerie.  I measured my crochet gauge, which was 7 stitches and 7 rows to the inch. Then I knit the foot after finding TechKnitter's Disappearing loop method of casting on in the middle.  It is an excellent method. To avoid the time and effort knitting a gauge piece for gauge's sake and knitting it in the round I just planned to measure the gauge in the column of the lower leg. Turns out that using the same mm needle as the size crochet hook I'd used (and same yarn, but different color) also yielded 7 sts to the inch, but 9 rows to the inch instead of 7. To compensate for this I added 2 rows for each 7 rows which made the row count for the lower leg 22 instead of 17. (14 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 1; 2 for each block of 7 rows, 3 rows to finish off the original 17 in the pattern, plus one additional row because 3 is nearly half of 7 and I add 2 with every 7. I'm sure I have not accounted for that in a very clear way, but that's all that comes to mind in way of explanation at this time.)

Poor Frenchy, assembling her for a pic I see one arm
is incomplete and the other not stuffed!
Didn't notice this llama already named French Silk before I named my crocheted version. I based her color pattern on this llama with a painted coat. And then when the yarn arrived the combination reminded me of the chocolate pie with that name.

Unless I change my mind I'm planning to pattern the colors on the knit llama mostly after one called Macarena. She and a few others I saw in photos have very dramatic white faces with black eye patches and rust colored bodies. It's a very dramatic look I just have to attempt.

Poor French Silk, my unfinished crocheted llama llama.  She's in pieces. All Nearly all of her pieces are completed, but sewing together is often a place where I cast on something new instead.

Drama llama's leg is definitely coming out smaller so far.
I'm really excited about knitting a llama llama. I'd much rather knit anyway, and crochet, especially crocheting stuffed toy tight, is very hard on my hands. Also, whenever there are duplicate pieces to work I knit them simultaneously using a pair of circular needles. I cannot crochet two pieces of anything at the same time. It worries me that the duplicates might not match exactly and it just seems slower to do them one at a time.  Since this is a stuffed animal and not a garment I am very hopeful that the knit version will be simple to engineer and will very closely resemble the crochet original, only smaller, probably. I am a little concerned about the way that single crochet produces a much denser fabric than knitting. I don't think I'll be able to stuff a knit version nearly so tightly as a crocheted one.

Crossing my fingers! Well, figuratively crossing them; they're actually busy knitting or typing about the knitting.  Honestly, I kind of like the white ring around the ankle on the knit leg. What I was doing was putting in two knit rows with "waste yarn" to make it easy to remove the unaltered foot (without extra rows to compensate for the comparative shortness of knit stitches) and replace it with one reworked to a taller proportion. I'm kind of leaning toward not only leaving the white ring, but making all the other feet to match this one. It's a decision I'm going to postpone for a bit. I have not yet mastered or even attempted a knitted loop stitch. There's a pattern for it in a book I have. Besides that, the only other concern I had about knit construction was with starting in the middle of a tight circle. Presto! TechKnitter's disappearing loop method pops up. Thanks so much TK!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hat making party

Sunday I went to a Mardi Gras hat making party.  A group of seven friends are going to Mardi Gras. Besides having fun, their mission is to collect beads to recycle on local parade routes later in the year. Why not? Beads are expensive and they'd be buying them themselves otherwise.

On the Monday after Christmas Mic and I went to see Little Fockers and have dinner at Olive Garden. After that we shopped at Michaels craft store and found a selection of Christmas decorations on 70% clearance or so.  Mic saw some items in purple, gold, and green and thought it would be fun to decorate hats for the next Mardi Gras trip.

I made a sketch of the hat that I worked on. This is what it looks like, as best as I can remember and within the limits of what I can illustrate in markers without drawing everything out in great detail first.

ETA: there are two gold apples, one gold ball, three purple balls, several purple feathery shaped items, green glittered balls on green glittered wire, two gold beaded strands of round gold sequins, small purple balls on purple wire, a green ribbon band, and a green bird sitting on purple leaves and foliage. All of this is mostly wired and to a lesser extent hot glued to a straw colored cowboy hat. It may be missing some features in the real version, but this is mostly the gist of it. The drawing reminds me how out of practice I am in drawing lately. I suppose no illustration would have the impact and immediacy of the real thing.

I thought maybe that would add some perspective, but adding a drawn hat to a photo doesn't really bring it to life so much. Oh well!

ding DONG! Aarufff, Rruff, RrawFFFF!

A spooky glowing eye?

No!  The house finally has a working doorbell again and that was it (probably autofocus and no flash, but I'm not sure.) Every step installing it has had some complication or another, making it an enormous pain in the butt over several days. I'm most upset about the inaccurate description posted by the online retailer AND how one of their employees called to argue with me about it and insist my complaint was just a matter of semantics. Accommodating that one difference they dismiss is what set off an avalanche of problems. But I really don't have the energy to go through it step by step.

I am very pleased that it works. I like the size and the decorative detailing and the finish. I am especially enjoying that it lights up with an LED. The light is supposed to make it easier to find in the dark, but the porch light right above is illuminated all the time anyway. I appreciate it's unexpected usefulness as an indicator that the wires are properly connected.

And it certainly is a huge improvement over the old doorbell button, which had endured sloppy paint jobs and about 21 years of use. At first it was still operable even with the duct tape over the missing button section. I'd applied that because of the way the button on it had broken. I wanted to be sure no one would be at risk of cuts or shock from using the button, but needed to leave it in place while securing a replacement.

I'm certain, besides age, location and resulting positional abuse contributed to its demise. While sheltered from weather conditions by many feet in all directions, it had the misfortune of being mounted on a wall perpendicular to the door. I think most people pressing on it were doing so from the outside corner, rather than flat on the face of the button. Makes sense that it would snap the way it did. In the last year possibly five different people have drawn my attention to this doorbell button (pre-duct tape, with no broken parts), suggesting that it didn't work. I'd reach over from the door's threshold and press firmly on the face of the button and we'd both hear the doorbell chiming loudly a few feet behind me. I think the button in the new doorbell button has a better chance because the button part doesn't pop out and press in  to the same extent.  There's no outside corner to press on in a circle.

I really should do some touch up sanding and painting to really finish the installation. I even took out the matching paint when I started this project. But it's been so much extra trouble already and I am truly exhausted.  Unfortunately next time there's a problem, new wires are going to have to be fished through. Every bit of extra slack was used up in this fix (not my plan at all, just kept going that way) and I found that the insulation on the wires came off easily, seemingly without even touching it at all. And the smallest manipulations tended to snap the wire right off.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Praise for a great pattern

Must take a moment to do some bragging about Paola's greatness, especially with regard to communication and excellence in pattern writing and publishing.  I've emailed her twice to ask questions about patterns, once before and once after buying my patterns and both times she has responded to me kindly and especially quickly, within a few hours, I think.  I ordered my patterns on Christmas day and they were in my inbox within just a few hours. Accounting for the holiday I would not have been surprised if they'd been delayed a day or two; if I have a holiday it seems like everyone should!  I am very impressed by the clarity of the instructions, the abundance of project photos in progress and at different angles, and also the ease with which it is all conveyed.  The pdf may be 15 or 20 pages, but I feel the photos tell me a lot that words don't and at times they reveal details about placement and shaping and other concerns that are easily overlooked in other designers' patterns.  I don't think I'm explaining well.

Holy cow!  I just discovered that in the pattern I'm working there's a link to a video tutorial demonstrating how to make the loop stitch AND I think she is using a more movement economical way of rewrapping the yarn in the opposite direction.  Otherwise, it was easy enough to learn this stitch just following along with the photo tutorial in the pattern.

BTW, I have memorized the lyrics to the Llama llama duck song.  It amuses me for reasons I can't or shouldn't explain.  If I understand correctly, the "Not a llama" image displays an alpaca, which looks a lot like a llama, but doesn't have the llama's banana ears.  (You can see what I mean in the next post.  Wasn't planning on it, but occasionally my thoughts fall into linear arrangements.)  That's my conclusion because I've been browsing so very many llama photo rich websites to observe colors and patterns and plan future llama llama projects.  At some point I read that the ears were a major distinguishing feature.

How much more trouble can I get into?

Well the end of the last post unexpectedly segues into this one.  Something that won't happen often and I suppose I shouldn't care since the posts appear in a reverse chronology anyway.  Or rather it did, and then I was editing multiple posts at the same time and then taking out a section to make a post of it's own.  Now it actually works from top to bottom.  This kind of chaos sounds a lot more like me ;o).  I was mentioning a video tutorial and also my accomplishment of learning the lyrics to Llama llama duck.  Which means I am often humming it when I am not absentmindedly humming the theme song for one of Investigation Discovery's new shows.  I think it's the theme song... wouldn't know really, it's what they play in the background of the commercial for it.  But then I tend to hum random commercial tunes and theme songs without realizing it all the time anyway...

I stumbled into setting up a YouTube account without really wanting to.  All I wanted to do was give a good rating and favorable comments to a video I admired.  And Google bullied me into setting up yet another account.  I felt fairly discouraged about my inability to find any use for having a YouTube channel of my own.  But as I poked around a bit I started to realize that while I don't really plan to make videos myself at this time I should be able to use my channel to collect and organize videos I like and especially those video tutorials for knitting and crocheting that I might refer to over and over.  Like Cat Bordhi's Slim and Trim SSKs tutorial featuring her memorable hungry stitch method.

Did you get a look at the doorbell button ad in the upper right corner?  I find it fairly creepy and certainly suspicious that earlier in the evening I looked at doorbell buttons online, possibly for a few hours even.  While I probably won't choose that style I do find there's something enticing about a doorbell button labeled PRESS, just like that in capital letters and everything.  I'm sure there's a reason for the apropos nature of the ads and these circumstances are directly related.  I'd feel a little better with some sort of proof or acknowledgment of it though.  And maybe some guidelines so that all my browsing doesn't produce ads on my channel for everything.  Not that there's anything I'm browsing for that's out of bounds.  It's just too big brother, too mundane, and just not necessary.

I suppose it's fairly newsworthy that the doorbell button I need to replace (at left, in all it's painted over and dilapidated glory) lasted for about 21.5 years.  The manufacturer should be glowing with pride, especially since I've been reading that doorbell button life spans can be as short as 4-11 years.  Truly, I don't know how the push button plastic part of it managed to escape dry-rotting and shattering years ago, except that it is very well shaded and weather protected.  Even in it's duct-taped and sorry current state it does still work.  But it is time for a replacement.

This round one I copied and printed out at life size could be a contender, but it's a bit too yellowy goldy.  Who wants to snoop on this kind of news, really?!  Find me a lighted surface mount button that's clever, beautiful, and has a dark or coppery finish and we can call it even.

At least I have a lead on a local business where I might be able to see some stock in person.  I think if I'd signed up for a channel earlier then there would be ads for llamas instead ;o).

So that's all that's there is so far on my brand new channel.  I'm tempted to try making a video of using my Tilta Swift and ball winder to wind a center pull skein.  It really works remarkably well and just took a bit of practice to get consistently good results.  But to avoid colossal embarrassment I would have to do a lot of putting away of half finished projects that are cluttering up my work space.  It's nearly unbearable at times on it's own, just from the lost but around here somewhere supplies alone, but I only have so much energy and that's so much less that what I should have.  Besides that, there is nothing I can say about it that would convey such a terribly negative impression as allowing it to appear as the background in a video.  That makes two obstacles: reliable or certain means of capturing video and massive straightening to remove unsightly backdrop.  Maybe someday I'll get to it.  Would love to get everyone using a Tilta Swift - so clever, so economical, so many items you already have on hand that could be put to fabulous use.  And a video would be far more convincing than a sparse beginner slideshow.

There's nothing there to see really now, but when it really seems presentable I'll add a link.  Cheers!

Llama llama in progress

I've completed maybe half the work on my Coquena the Llama llama project having bought llama yarn in two colors and then buying more from additional online retailers after running out. Actually they all tended to have little stock in the colors I wanted.

Now they have nearly all arrived (except for a single hank of Mirasol Miski in Snowdrop #100 that Webs owes me). Miraculously, they all have matching dye lots across all sources - so far anyway.

Referring to the last image: the white starts after I used an entire skein of brown (Mississippi), coffee mug is just for size reference.  And the images show a much earlier than current stage of completion.

I'm calling my first llama llama French Silk since the yarn used (Mirasol Miski in Mississippi and Snowdrop and Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama in Dark Brown) remind me of the chocolate on chocolate pie with the same name.

Ran into a bit of a snag missing or forgetting part of the instructions to make my coat loop stitches about 2" long.  Noticed it by the time I'd gotten to the tops of the legs where the directive is repeated to make 2" long stitches and emailed Paola to find out why the loops on the tops of the legs where 2".  She very kindly explained that they should be the same length as on the body and that the body instructions call for the same size loop.  I'm so glad I asked!  I'm going to redo the top of the one leg that had loops so far and make them match the loop size I used on the body.  French Silk has been more recently sheared than Coquena, that's all.

Was going to hold off posting until I got a few better pics representing current state of progress.  But that's going to make an even BIGGER, more tiring post by the time I'd get around to finishing it, so I've changed my mind (well, obviously!).

This would make more sense if I hadn't deleted references to struggling with trying to match the eye highlights and reworking over and over.  On my next try, which could be the 7th or 11th I'm going to use a single strand, although the right one I'm trying to match was done in a double strand.  Seems that with a single strand and maybe twice as many passes I'll have more control over how it turns out.  You can see what I mean about the longer leg loops anyway.