Monday, April 14, 2014

Nerd Wars Tournament Ten, Round Two

I managed to finish three projects for this round of Nerd Wars. I think that my knitting would be more productive if I could figure out how to incorporate projects into Nerd Wars instead of using Nerd Wars to select projects. I currently read the Nerd Wars challenge prompts and then select projects based on the prompt. I sometimes have other projects that I want or need to make but I have a hard time making my brain find ways for those projects to answer a Nerd Wars challenge. I think that I am going to try harder to make those project fit which should make juggling my knitting projects a little easier and should give my brain a bit of a workout. I think it is good to find different ways to give your brain a challenge, even if it is something small like making your project work with a Nerd Wars challenge prompt.

Without further ado, here are the badges that I earned for round two and the projects that I knit.

The challenge was to craft something inspired by the rocks that are studied by geologists. I knit a red hat inspired by rubies.  It is the Giving Comfort hat by Alicia Landi. It is a well-written pattern for a simple, bulky weight hat with a little bit of texture. I can see making a lot of these hats in my future for charity knitting. I used Malabrigo Mecha which is a lovely superwash bulky single that I purchased from my local yarn shop.


Please pardon the quality of the pictures. They were taken on a not so great camera and are a little blurry.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Leveling Up My Knitting Skills

I just love it when I learn a new knitting skill! Well, I don't know that it is actually a knitting skill so much as it is a yarn skill but since I use it in my knitting, I'm just calling it a knitting skill. I stumbled across this technique in the Haka pattern by Lee Meredith (you may know her as leethalknits) when she suggested using worsted weight yarn held triple to get a super bulky weight yarn. Now, I don't know about you but the thought of holding three strands together from three different balls of yarn was enough to give me hives. I sometimes get tangled up in one strand of yarn, let alone three! However, she mentioned a technique that allowed you to use one strand of yarn to get three strands held together and she linked to a video tutorial. Just one strand? I knew I had to give it a shot.

The video tutorial was created by Alex Tinsley, another fabulous designer, who can be found at her website, dull roar. The tutorial is genius! I am finally going to be able to use up the lace weight that I have in my stash along with all of the fingering weight. I don't mind knitting with fingering weight but I have so many single skeins of it that it will take me forever to knit through it all. Also, let's be honest, sometimes I get bored partway through a fingering weight project so it just gets shoved into a project bag and thrown in a corner, never to be seen again. Triple-stranded fingering weight will allow me to zip through a project without getting bored and now I will be able to use fingering weight for charity knitting since most of the places that I donate hats to prefer that they be made out of worsted or bulky weight yarns. Here is the video that has changed my knitting life.

It was a little fiddly when I first got started but if you are a spinner, it will probably come very easily to you since it is similar to chain plying. (At least that is what Lee Meredith said in her pattern. I don't spin so I neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of her statement.) Initially, I would chain up some yarn and leave it in a pile on the desk while I was knitting. I am sure no one is surprised to hear that led straight to tangle city. Then I started wrapping the chained yarn around the outside of the yarn cake and unwinding a little bit at a time to avoid tangles. Other than being annoyed at the interruptions to unwind the yarn, that method was working well until the yarn cake started to collapse. It was a center pull cake and I was pulling from the center so when it started to collapse, I worried about yarn tangles. This wouldn't have been a problem if I had worked from the outside of the cake but that's not how I roll. Inspiration struck in the form of a juice glass. I just wound the chained yarn around an upside down juice glass: no tangles, no collapsing the yarn cake, and no stopping to unwind the chained yarn as it just slipped nicely off the top of the glass as I knit. Here is a picture of my setup.

Since I wanted to test this technique on fingering weight yarn, I just knit a basic hat following the Giving Comfort hat pattern by Alicia Landi. I omitted the purl bumps in the body of the hat so I could focus on learning this new technique. The yarn that I was using as a test yarn was some leftover self-striping fingering weight yarn and it turns out, this technique is great for self-striping because you can preserve the striping sequence when would not happen if you held three different strands together! Look how great the finished product is:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Nerd Wars Tournament 10, Round One

I was a bit of a fail for this round of Nerd Wars. I only completed one project but I did manage to make sure that it was also fit in with the team unity for the round. I was very busy with work and I just wasn't feeling like knitting during February. Below are the badges that I earned during round one.

My amazing team captain always whips up awesome badges but I think the badges for this round are my favorite.

The challenge was to craft something that resembles a real, non-extinct, living organism, be it plant, animal, fungus, or bacterium. I knit a maple leaf dishcloth in Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton. That yarn is so soft! I'm guessing the dishcloth won't hold up for very long but I will enjoy the softness & squishiness while it lasts. I tied the color of the dishcloth to a shirt that Stacey wears in the pilot episode of "Gavin & Stacey." I also tied the color and the fact that it was a leaf to the woods that the runners are taking bathroom breaks in during the Marathon for Incontinence that was part of Monty Python's Silly Olympics (the sketch that we used for Team Unity).

If you haven't seen it, here is the Silly Olympics sketch.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bonus Knitting Time

The best part about traveling is the extra time that I have to knit. I don't have any distractions (I'm looking at you, internet.) so I get a fair bit of knitting done. I am knitting on a Monster Cowl out of yarn from Another Crafty Girl. If you haven't tried her worsted yarn, you should. It is a dream to work with.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nerd Warriors for the Win!!!

You guys, this just happened:

Also, I got my official badge for Dwarfing the Nebula in T9 Round 3:

If you are interested in Nerd Wars, it is team sign up time and Team Most Amused would love to have you. If Britcoms aren't your cup of team, there are a bunch of teams and you are sure to find something to tickle your fancy. Here is the thread of the teams that are hoping to participate in Tournament 10.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nerd Wars T9 R3 Recap

I had a very successful third round for Nerd Wars. I completed projects for every category which in Nerd Wars parlance means that I dwarfed the nebula. This is the first time in the three tournaments of Nerd Wars that I participated in that I managed to answer all of the challenges. One of the captains of Team Most Amused likes to recognize team members when they dwarf the nebula by making a humorous, quasi badge for them. Here is mine:

During this round, the team was a little less social but I think it is just the nature of the timing. December is a pretty busy month for most people with lots of family obligations and travel so there is just less time for knitting and internet shenanigans. We still ended up with 100% participation although we were one person short of having 100% participation for team unity this month. Our team unity for this round was to tie your project to Monty Python and, to extend the unity, our badges were all Monty Python related.

Giving Geeks:
This round of Giving Geeks was an end of the year special and you could answer the any of the challenges that had been done throughout the year. I went with the "donation inspired by weather" challenge and made a donation to the American Red Cross. I opted for this donation as the midwest had just been hit by several devastating tornadoes & the Philippines had just been hit by Typhoon Haiyan. My Britcom tie-in was the episode of The Vicar of Dibley when the vicar installs a plain window instead of a stained glass window in the church and donates the money she raised for a new stained glass window to earthquake relief.

Encyclopedia & Team Unity Project
The challenge for this round was to craft something inspired by some aspect of the European Medieval period. I took my inspiration from the Black Death, the largest pandemic in history, and crafted a black Thorpe hat. I crocheted the trim in red because I wanted to use the Black Knight from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail as my team tie-in and unity project. The Black Knight has a red symbol on his armor and he spouts quite a bit of blood over the course of his scene. I have a special fondness for that movie because I watched it several times with my Dad and brother when I was little. We still use it as a pop culture touch-point.

For this round, we had to try something new. It was a pretty broad mandate and there is a lot that I haven't tried when it comes to knitting. I decided that I would try double knitting as my "something new." Although it was a little fiddly it is definitely a technique that I would use again. I went with a very basic potholder for my project so that I didn't have to worry too much about mistakes. I mean, an ugly potholder is still completely functional, right? I tied this project to the Britcom Mulberry as the titular character arrives in a long, brown coat.

The challenge was to craft something inspired by a pun. I found a hippopotamus pun about weight loss so I knit a hippo dishcloth. The pattern that I used suggested knitting with a size 6 needle instead of the size 8 that is often called for with dishcloths as the tighter gauge helps the pattern stand out. I tied the color of the dishcloth to an outfit that a character is wearing in the sketch show Little Britain.

Flexible Schedule
For the flexible schedule category you can submit two projects that you finished during the round, as long as you did at least two hours worth of crafting on the project during the round. If you completed an unfinished object, you need to provide a before and after picture to show how much work you completed. I finished a dishcloth that I had started for a previous tournament and I also knit a pair of slippers. I tied the color of the slippers to the opening credit colors of the Britcom Good Neighbors.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013