Yarn Addiction Thursday: fluffy yet sticky

I received this yarn for Christmas. It is a mohair acrylic blend called Scirocco. This wool has a tweed look, mostly charcoal but hints of green and flecks of white. The string is not so thick but it requires larger needles or hooks becuase that stuff is fuzzy and sticky.

This fuzziness would be nice for a snuggly lace shawl so crocheted this yarn into a wrap for a friend moving from Tokyo to Hawaii.

I made the piece about 10 cm longer than it needed to be. I had no pattern  for the whole work except for the lace stitch: Berry Lace from Crochet Stitches Visual Encylopedia (Kindle) by Robin Chachula. I’m using a 7mm crochet hook. I can’t imagine crocheting this fiber tightly. I like tight, defined stitches this yarn is too sticky for that. I’m learning to love loose stitches. I’m also learning how to appreciate small errors for their “charm” since it’s almost impossible to pull out mistakes. Pulling the yarn back through the loop feels like crocheting with velcro.

Luckily the pattern built up quickly and it was fun to make… when I didn’t have to fix a mistake.

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I like how the openness of the lace allows the allows the fabric to display its fuzzy glory. I think it will be a nice balance for cool nights in Hawaii. It was also a nice feeling to see a gift made into another gift.

 

NOTE: I originally wrote this post year ago and just found it among my drafts. Thought I’d post it anyway.

 

 

 

App Review of StitchSketch LE. Designing Your Own Patterns Is Easier than Ever!

For today’s edition of Yarn Addiction Thursday, I’m reviewing With StitchSketch LE. You can create your own knit, cross-stitch, beadwork designs, or pixel art on your iPad or iPhone with ease.

In the past, if you wanted to design a knitting pattern, you  needed graph paper or to draw out your pattern. Each block got its own color, just like pixel art. If you were doing it freehand, no worries. A photo was a lot tougher.  It was tough to copy a photo onto graph paper, so you could use a light table or transparancy. Not convenient but doable.

So all is good, until you knit out your design and find that the gauge of your yarn makes a unit block of the design more rectangular than square. Your end result ends up looking stretched if the stitch is more upright rectangular and squashed if the stitch was wider.

How to make sure your design doesn’t go wonky? One solution was to find knitting graph paper with different gauge. I didn’t even know that existed until recently. Or you could use an Excel spreadsheet to make your graph paper by adjusting the column and row sizes according to gauge. So all that work and you still need to get your image on the paper. Yikes.

StitchSketch LE makes things  a lot easier. Use your iPad or your iPhone to create wherever you are.

20141113-132835-48515356.jpg1. You select your medium (stitching, knitting, beading, pixel art) which will have symbols or colors depending on your choice.
2. Input the size of the work and the gauge of the yarn
3. Create your image. Draw in the app or import.

 


4. Save the work
You can save work in the app gallery, your camera roll or generate a PDF. Outside the app gallery, saving as a PDF gets you the maximum amount of information. Saving to your camera roll gets you a chart but no row counts or color info.
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5. Generate a PDF.
Check your settings carefully. You might save without the graph lines which makes it very difficult to use. But don’t close this PDF. You need to click the icon on the top right to move the generated PDF into another app to save it or send it. By doing this you get a file row counts and a list of colors in RGB and hexadecimal (for coding). If you buy the full app, you get color references for the brands they use.

I drew the image below in the app. I posted some versions using different media available in StitchSketchLE. I wonder if one could do pixel art for Minecraft in this app?

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Some examples of stitch symbols

For knitters who design with stitches more than color
There is also a selection for knitting symbols. I don’t do a lot of knitting with stitch symbols so I’m not familiar with the meanings and the effects. I played with the symbols to show some of them. I’m pretty sure this would not actually make anything.

Some tips
1. This is basically pixel art so the finer your gauge, the more refined your design will look.
2. Test knit a swatch and count your rows and stitches then enter: this way you can be sure your design doesn’t suffer from stretch or squashiness

Conclusion: 5 Stars
I really like the app on my iPad. It removes the grunt work (finding paper, creating a graph, transferring the image to paper) from making a design and allows you to focus on making your vision a reality. I downloaded the free version but haven’t upgraded to the full version. Currently, the LE version fills all my needs very well. I find $6.99 a bit spendy for the full version, but the tracing paper mode does entice me. If I did complicated color work or made kits for people, I would definitely get the full version so I could get a color list of manufacturers’ flosses or beads.

StitchSketch LE by Keiji Ikuta is a free app for the basic and $6.99 for full app.

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Yarn Addiction Thursday: Dragon Scales Scarf

Dragon Scales made from crochet.
Dragon Scales made from crochet.

I made this scarf for a friend. My inspiration was the Welsh dragon as my friend is Welsh and green rather than red as green is her favorite color. It is made with Noro Kirara (#10?).

I had originally wanted to make a spaghetti-string (i-cord) scarf with this brilliant green colorway in Noro Kama. I was making heaps of these scarfs based on a La Droguerie pattern. Sadly, Kama is way to thick to go through an i-cord knitting mill. I found a thinner yarn in a green colorway in Noro Kirara. No luck with Kirara in the i-cord mill either.

My next idea was to make scales using the crocodile stitch. I didn’t like how it was looking. I was hoping for something a bit more elegant than I could achieve with the stitch-yarn combo. If I was just going for playful, it would have been ok. But I wanted something that would look nice with a big coat. Amother minus for crocodile stitch is the large amount of yarn it requires. Kama is no longer produced so getting more than two balls was challenging. This was another reason to switch to Kirara.

I searched through the web for inspiration and found lots of shell patterns that were close but not quite. and found this pattern for a sweater which I adapted to a scarf. It had a kind of dragon scale feel to it. I made a few changes to the pattern. Stuffing the shell with more stitches per shell gave it a more structured scaley appearance. Since it was a repeating pattern, it was fairly relaxing to make. The hardest part was keeping track of the row ends and making sure I was doing the correct ending for the current row. One benefit of this over a spaghetti scarf is that there is NO sewing.

I like the color way for the Kirara but it was a bit more itchy than I expected. When I grabbed the ball of yarn it was soft but it became scratchy as the scarf progressed. I’ve heard that it gets softer when you wash it. When I finished it, I gave it a good wash. It did get quite a bit softer but I did lose a tiny bit of stitch definition. Happily, my friend loved her scarf. 

 

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