Knitted Things

Katie Boyette’s Tiny Knits

Katie Boyette—AKA Caffaknitted—is knitting tiny things! I think these chairs are just delightful.

katieboyette_chairs

And this guitar!

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The felt and other embellishments really make these pieces. So clever!

If you’re not familiar with her work, Katie has written several books of toy knitting patterns and more, and we’ve even both contributed to the same art shows in the past. I love the way she engineers her projects in unexpected ways. See more at Caffaknitted.com!

The Reject Bag

Have I mentioned that I’m working on a new book? I’m absolutely psyched about it, although I’m not psyched about having to keep all my recent design work under wraps. It’s so hard not to share!

But it occurred to me this morning that I can share my failures! Actually, that theme goes quite nicely with my post yesterday about being a beginner at a new craft—even though I’m far from a beginner at knitting, I still have plenty of false starts with my new designs. And for the first time I’m collecting all of those “rejects” in one place. It’s the reject bag!

rejectbag1

I know, such a small bag. I’m going to need a bigger bag soon. This is where I’m putting all of my samples that didn’t work out for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s because the design didn’t turn out how I wanted, and sometimes it’s just because I decided to use different colors for the final design. Would you like a peek inside?

rejectbag2

It strikes me as strange that I never put all of these seconds in one place before. Until recently, they were just scattered everywhere and shoved into random drawers. But I think it will be helpful to have them all collected together—I’m sure I’ll be referring back to these guys occasionally. And it’s just kind of nice to have a place to put the stuff that isn’t trash, and isn’t perfect either.

This makes me wonder what other people do with their failed projects. Do you collect yours somewhere, or just frog them as soon as possible?

Name That Game

I thought about keeping this guy under wraps until the pattern is ready, but it’s been such a long journey getting to the final design, I just have to share a preview!

insertcoin

You guys, I am PSYCHED at how he came out. For what it’s worth, this is my favorite mochi yet. (I guess that’s not actually worth very much, since my latest design is always my favorite…but still!)

Quite a lot needs to get done before we will have reached a final pattern, but there’s no reason to drag out the process, so rest assured that I’m on it, and there will be a pattern before long. However, somehow this arcade game mochi is still nameless! Would you like to name him? Leave your suggestions in the comments—if I choose yours, you can expect to get the pattern for free when it’s ready! (No guarantee that I’ll for sure use a name suggested in the comments…but maybe!)

Insert Coin

A little update on how the arcade mochi is coming: He’s lost some of his negativity!

insertcoin1

That’s right, no more “GAME OVER” for this guy—all you need to do is insert a coin! It was the happier colors I’m working with that inspired the change.

Now, it may sound really simple to switch out the letters on his screen, but I had already established that they would be 3 stitches wide, and that presented a problem when it came to the letter N. After going through several iterations in which it looked like “IMSERT COIM” and IHSERT COIH,” I finally gave up and made the N four stitches wide. That means that the letters are just ever so slightly off center, a reality that bothered me at first, until I decided not to let it bother me anymore. He’s going to be super cute!

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So now I almost have all of the main pieces finished for my second version. I did reconfigure the structure of the seams just a bit, so that all of the pieces could be laid flat for blocking.

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So I’ll need to stitch them together again to make sure they fit properly. Then it will be time to add all the fun embellishments that I’ve been looking forward to for months. The finished design is feeling really close now!

Arcade Mochi: Stars and Stripes

It’s been about two and a half months since my last update about my as-yet-unnamed arcade mochi, which seems to be a consistent interval with this epic project. But things are happening! We have colors!

arcade_color1

It was only as I was photographing these bags of Cascade 220 that I realized how patriotic this arcade game might be. But I think the color ratios will be different enough, and I’ll probably throw in some yellow too. Choosing the final colors for this guy was a big holdup with the project—I want him to look just right if I’m going to knit the whole thing over again!

Before I go on, here’s a reminder of where I was with this project in November:

arcade_prototype

The finished prototype has been sitting on my desk ever since, just staring at me for two and a half months.

Aside from colors, the other big decision-making that I’ve had to do before moving forward was figuring out what kind of colorwork I wanted to integrate. There are just so many 8-bit possibilities! But (at least for now) I settled a single large star to go on the sides, plus maybe smaller stars on the top panel.

I used Illustrator to do all my colorwork “sketching,” then I knitted my first star swatch.

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(Yes, the colors I used in Illustrator and the colors I used for the swatch and the colors I’m using for the final design are all different. Why make things simple when they can be complicated?)

My first star turned out a little too wide (stupid grids and my refusal to get the proportions of the squares right before beginning to knit), so here’s my second, slightly taller star swatch.

arcade_color3

And now it’s time to start knitting what I hope will be the final toy. I’m feeling star-crazy, so I’m beginning with the panel that will make up the back and sides of the toy. Since I already made a full prototype, I know exactly how many stitches to cast on and how to shape the sides of the piece, and I can just concentrate on the color design at this point. I even stopped to take a pattern photo!

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As I mentioned in my “shop talk” post from a couple weeks back, I usually knit things over again to take the technique photos for my patterns, but when I’m working on a project this large, I try to photograph crucial steps as I knit.

I still have far to go before finishing, but I finally feel like I have a clear direction with this project. I should probably stop making predictions about when the pattern will be ready, but it WILL be ready eventually, even if no one remembers arcade games by the time it’s finished.