Thursday, 31 October 2013

What to Wear When You're Doing the Monster Mash

I've done several Halloween posts over the last two weeks (which you can view here), and for actual day of Halloween post I've done a post of accessories that will help you have the perfect Halloween — if not this year, then next year.

These will probably be the only spiders you'll ever want creeping up your legs. This is the Itsy Bitsy Spider And A Big One design, by Lotta Groeger. This pattern is available for €3.00(EUR).

Some haunting gloves. These are the Hattifattener Mittens, by Soile Peltokangas. This pattern is a free download.

These gloves will cast a spell on you, or even better, on someone else. These are the Bewitching Halloween Gloves, by Nanette Blanchard. This pattern is available for $5.99(USD).

Love the clever concept employed here, of snowflakes turning into skulls, or vice versa. These are the Snowball's Chance in Hell gauntlets, by Renée Rigdon and Zabet Stewart. This pattern is available for free.

These are the Batsy Mittens, by Ziina. This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download.

The dance of the shades that you can wear with shades. The Round Dance design, by Thomas Pototschnig. This pattern is available for free.

The Cat Mittens design, by Jorid Linvik. This pattern is available for $6.50(USD).

The Wa na na na na na na na Bat Shawl design, by Emilee Mooney. This pattern is available for free.

I love how this design has used the skin tone showing through the openings to become the ghosts' mouths. This the Boo! Toe-Up Socks design, by Emily B. Miller. This pattern is available for free.

This pattern is for the more daring Halloween trick or treater. The Spiderweb Brassiere, by Brittany Wilson. This pattern is available for free.

A scarf that contains both spider and web. The October is for Spinners scarf, by Sharon Emery. This pattern is available for free.

For your cranium, the Cranio design, by Chloe Sparkle. This pattern is available for $4.50(USD).

The Frankensocks design, by Star Athena. This is Knitty pattern, and so is available for free.

The Witch Cats Hat, by Christine de Savoie. This pattern is available for free.

These socks were inspired by the folk art skeleton theme known as a calaca that is associated with the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. The Las Calacas Danzantes Socks design is by Erssie Major and is available for free.

Maybe in this hat you can convince the zombies you're one of them. It's not like they're too swift, after all. The Awesome Zombie Hat design, by Jane Gracier. This pattern is available for free.

This is illusion knitting and the skulls seen here will disappear and reappear depending on which angle from which you view the scarf. This is the Mark's Skull Illusion Scarf design, by Cathy Munoz. This pattern is available for free.

The Toxic Socks design, by Camille Chang, is available for download for $1.99(USD).

The Scarrrrrf design, by Sharon Mooney, is available for $5.50(USD).

For Poe fans, the Nevermore socks, by yellowcosmo. This pattern is available for free.

What's Halloween without the sighte of a bare and looming tree against the night sky? The Bile Tree Double Knitting reversible bag, by Alexandra Wiedmayer. This pattern is available for $5.50(USD).

The Shelob's Lair design, by KYMaggie. This pattern is available for $2.50(USD).

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Stitch Markers You'll Want to Snitch

Recently, after years of using improvised stitch markers, I decided to treat myself to some real ones while on a visit to Toronto's Romni Wools, and was disheartened by the limited selection and general unattractiveness of the stitch markers they had for sale. But I knew I'm not the only crafter who loves using beautiful and high quality tools. There had to be some awesome stitch markers out there, and even better, I could write a post about them. Well, as it happens, there are and I did and here's the resulting post.

If you've never used stitch markers, they are quite a simple and handy little knitting accessory to help you keep track of where you are in your knitting project by marking the beginning of a round or a lace pattern. One simply slips the stitch marker from the left needle to the right when one comes back to it. There are both closed loop and locking stitch markers. The latter are preferable because they have more uses in knitting and can also be used for crocheting. This Lion Brand blog post goes into some more detail about how to use stitch markers.

It's quite easy to make your own stitch markers with items you probably already have lying around your home. You can use earrings, paper clips, safety pins, bobby pins, twist ties, plastic drinking straws cut into small pieces and slipped onto the needle, or a contrasting strand of yarn or embroidery floss slip knotted over the needle. But if you'd like to indulge in some special stitch markers, I've picked out a selection of stitch markers from around the net that you can either buy or make for yourself with beading techniques. If you've never done any beading, Worm Spit has a primer on how to make beaded stitch markers.

The notation stitch markers above (which are the closed loop type of stitch marker) are available for sale at Stitch Culture.

Craftsy suggests you can make these yarn and bead markers with technical reminders on them. I don't think I could be bothered changing the beads as they propose doing, but it's workable idea if it suits you.

These number and pearl stitch markers from Seahorse Designs would be an easy way to keep track of your rounds.

If you don't want to use your yarn makers to keep track of technical requirements but still want them to reference your love of knitting, these yarn ball markers from Hiya Hiya North America are cute and colourful.

Make sure you don't lose these little sheep! From Caryll Designs.

These green bead markers from Yarn Tomato are ever so pretty. You could make something very similar yourself, and once you know how to make stitch markers, your ability to make them will be limited only by the kind of beads available to you.

Here are some pearl markers from Shade Tree Art. What else would one put with cashmere yarn but pearls?

How do you like these apples? From Creations Jacqueline.

Here are some adorable owl stitch markers from the Etsy shop Lavender Hill Knits. There are a number of lovely stitch markers in this shop, and for that matter the entire shop is well worth a look.

These are definitely the coolest stitch markers I came across while researching this post. From Etsy seller Lady Danio.

These disco stitch markers will add a little bling to your knitting projects. From Etsy seller rosyretro. There are a lot of stitch markers available on Etsy.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Some Frightfully Good Halloween Costumes

The photo above is of the Witchy Hands design, by Lion Brand Yarn. It's a free pattern.

If you want a witch's hat to go with your witchy hands, I suggest this knitted witch hat design, by Cathy Scott. This pattern is available for $4.30(USD).

If you feel evil witches who dress all in unrelieved black are old hat, you might like this Which Witch design, by Tonks. This pattern is available for $3(USD).

If witches aren't your thing, this Jackyll & Hide sack masque, by Saskia de Feijter, might work for you. This is a Knitty pattern, and so is available for free.

If you're feeling devilish, you might like to make the Bokaclava design by Anne-Marie Dunbar. It's a free pattern and is sized for both children and adults.

If you're a Cthulhu/Lovecraft enthusiast, perhaps you'll enjoy knitting the Cthulhuclava, by Anne-Marie Dunbar. This pattern is available for £3.00(GBP).

Feeling cerebral? How about this Brain Hat, by Alana Noritake. This pattern is available for $5(USD).

I hope none of my male readers turned to stone when they saw this Medusa wig. I have too few of you to lose! Unfortunately this particular pattern is not available, but the Medusa wig design by Grace Breyley, which is available for $2(USD), is similar and could be adapted by an experienced knitter.

What's that in the sky? It's a onesie! It's a sleeper! No, it's a Superbaby costume, by Jennifer Lori. This pattern is available for download for $4.99(USD).

Here's a costume for your little lamb, the Lammekostyme design, by Margot Stevens. This pattern is available for free.

If you think your baby is particularly merry, daring, and fair-minded, there's always The Legend of Baby Link design, by Joanna Rankin. This pattern is available for free.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Bergère de France Magazine No. 169: A Review, Part 2

After part un of the Bergère de France Magazine No. 169 "Yarn Generation" review was published yesterday, let's proceed with part deux of the review.

Pattern #27, Bobble Hat and Snood. This is a very nice hat and cowl set. I don't share Bergère de France's love of that oatmeal shade, but there's no denying that the yarns used here (Angel Blanc Casse and Pure Nature Chamois) look beautifully soft and luxurious.

Pattern #28, Zipped Jacket. I think I'd like this jacket better if it were in one of the more standard menswear colourways. Most of the men I know aren't dandies and don't enjoy pushing the envelope when it comes to their style. This sweater combines an unusual colourway with a slightly unusual design, and a lot of men will only be willing to incorporate one of those elements in an outfit.

Pattern #29, Fur Collar. I quite like this little faux fur capelet. It's retro and cute.

Pattern #30, Bag. In part one of this review, I commented that one particular drawstring bag looked like something you'd carry on your way to the bowling alley with your friends Myrtle, Velma, and Gladys. Well, this bag is what Myrtle is carrying. And it contains wrap-around sunglasses, her lotto tickets, and lot of used tissues.

Pattern #31, High Collared Jacket. I can't say I understand the concept here. Adding random and ludicrous "design elements" like these this doesn't magically turn a basic design into an edgy, stylish one. Nor does forgetting to darn in the ends. Either knit this jacket without the bars of "embroidery", or just add some cables or moss stitch or stripes here and there to jazz it up a little.

Pattern #32, Crocheted Hat. I cannot imagine any of the young men of my acquaintance willingly wearing this hat. But then I would never have thought any young men would care to appear in public wearing long johns with shorts and I've seen several male Toronto hipsters do so this past week, so what do I know. I would recommend at least darning in the ends though.

Pattern #33, Sweater. Hmm, ugly afghan-type yarn, a curved hem, and a buzz word from the nineties knitted on the chest. You're wearing me down, Bergère de France. At this point I don't know which of us is the more out of touch. I do approve of the parasol, though. Given the heartrending ease with which I sunburn, the parasol can't come back into fashion soon enough for me.

Pattern #34, Snood. You know, I'd like this if it were knitted as a straight length and so actually needed buttons — though I would pick out more interesting buttons. Buttons that don't actually button things up just look chintzy on anything.

Pattern #35, Orange Cushion; Pattern #36, Green Cushion; Pattern #37, Pink Cushion; and Pattern #38, Blue Cushion. As I said above, I was wondering which of us was more out of touch, Bergère de France, but I think I've decided it's you. At least I know I'm not hip. I'm guessing these were intended to be the perfect cushions for a young computer geek, but the thing is actual computer geeks, like geeks in general, like any referential clothing or home furnishings to be both more esoteric and more pointed than this.

Pattern #39, Stress-relief toy. This looks more like a baby's toy than a stress-relief toy, but then I suppose babies have stress too. All that gas, teething, limited communication skills, etc.

Pattern #40, Key Holder. This isn't a bad idea, but I don't think I'd like one of these myself — it's a tad on the bulky side and would take up too much room in my purse. Also it would get grubby very quickly.

Pattern #41, Panda Throw. The pom poms and applied bow on this throw would drive me crazy because not only are they kind of cheesy, they'd be forever catching on everything. If I wanted to make a panda throw, I'd just go with an intarsia panda.

Pattern #42, Sweater; and Pattern #43, Pompom Hat. I have to admit these are kind of cute. They aren't something I'd be caught dead in, but then they aren't for me, but for some cute young woman or teenaged girl who is capable of looking totally adorable in them.

Pattern #44, Short Hat. More non-functioning buttons on this one, which I don't think add anything. Otherwise I suppose it's an acceptable and very basic design.

Pattern #45, Hooded Sweater. I actually kind of like this one. The overall shape is quite good. If you're making this for someone other than yourself, so make sure he or she likes the faux Greek letter geek concept enough to wear it.

Pattern #46, Low-Back Sweater. I have to say I like this one. The back detail is surprising and eye-catching and and not in a bad or unwearable way. The wearer will be able to get a bra under the sweater and to wear this design to most places except possibly work (and then it depends on what her work place is like). I'd wear this myself.

Pattern #47, Hat. Not a bad hat, and finally... decorative buttons that actually work reasonably well as decorative touches. Using unusual shank-style buttons seems to be key to making that work.

Pattern #48, Hat or Snood. This pattern works as a cowl, but I'm skeptical as to its merits as a hat. In Canada, having a gaping hole at the end of your hat is not a great idea. Moreover, it just looks oversized and rather silly.

Pattern #49, Large Scarf. Really basic huge ribbed scarf. It's fine if you like this style. I will say the Chambery Glacier yarn used here is beautiful.

Pattern #50, Lap-top Case. This looks like a prop from some low-budget sci-fi movie from the fifties, one in which the aliens have zippers down the front of their costumes and speak perfect English and try to convince the female lead to come aboard their wobbling cardboard spaceships to see all their high-tech equipment, of which this would be one piece. In other words, this is a good for a laugh, especially if there is popcorn involved, but I can't imagine anyone actually wanting to use it in real life.