Mad as a March…otter?

March 21st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

For any of you lovely readers who have been following along with my Instagram otter post updates, or this blog, you’ll know that I have finished the super cute sea otter project I’ve been working on this past month.  March is always an insane month – heavy workoad at the day-job, the weather (in like a lion, out like a lamb), crazy social obligations, and so many birthdays.  Its enough to make anyone a little “mad.”

But this knitter is not the March Hare.  No, while my sanity has gone a bit by the wayside with all this “madness,” I consider myself to be Otterly Insane.  But of course, not literally.  Nope, I fell for this oh so cute (but kind of sewing nightmare) project for my coworker’s first child being born (another birthday!)  Its otterly cute, and I think you will agree:

Otterly complete

This project took me 37 days to knit.  Honestly though, a large part of that time was not spent knitting because I have been dealing with chronic pain and other “madness” this past month.  Also, I needed to wrap my head around 3D knitting because this is the first toy I’ve ever knitted.  It takes a different kind of mental gymnastics to understand how limbs are formed in knitting etc.  I’m so used to 2D knitting (sweaters in the round excluded).

I nicknamed this fellow “Gus” because that’s what he looked like to me.  I told my coworker that he could change it to whatever name he wanted to, but he liked Gus, so Gus he shall be!

Here’s Gus otterly in pieces before I sewed his appendages to his body:

And here he is with his appendages attached. 

As you can see, his legs looked a bit wonky.  The pattern directions were unclear about the leg placement – all it said was “attach the legs in the way that looks most cute to you.”  Hmmm, open to interpretation for sure.  I asked for some input from other knitterly folks, and more or less rotated the legs 90 degrees so that they sit properly now.
gus side-angle

Project Notes:
Project Pattern: Monterey Sea Otter (Ravelry link only)
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in brown, tan, and black; and GarnStudios DROPS Muskat cotton in silver.
Stashdown total: 196 yards out
Needles: 4mm and 3.5mm dpns
New skills employed: shadow wraps, embroidery, stuffing (without over stuffing), Turkish cast-on.

I’m happy to say that my coworker loved this gift and has promised to send me adorable photos of Gus + baby.  I look forward to receiving these pics and going “Awwwwww!” at my desk at work.

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The trouble with coffee is…

March 10th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I am a devoted tea-drinker.  I had to be – I grew up in an Irish household.  Tea is a thing in Ireland and the UK.  Fanaticism over what constitutes a “proper cup o’ tea” has been debated ad nauseum on the internet.  On Ravelry, there are 27 pages of teapot cozy patterns of various sizes, shapes, and colours to choose from.  Its a tea-lovers dream!

However, this post is not about tea.  No, its about its rival cousin – coffee.  Or more specifically, about Bodum (aka French Press) cozies.  Apparently, they are not really that common.  A google search will land you an Etsy shop or two selling them, or some odds-and-ends kitchenware stores that supply them.  A Ravelry search shows only 1.5 pages of Bodum/French Press cozy patterns.  What gives?  My understanding is that coffee is the beverage of choice in North America, but its accoutrements are not afforded the same amount of consideration as tea’s do.  Hmm.

A very dear friend of mine is an avid coffee drinker – Bodum/French Press preferred.  However, their coffee would continually get cold very quickly.  They were using a much worn and stained tea towel wrapped around the Bodum to keep it warm.  This technique was not very effective but was the best method available at the time.  Until I decided that this lukewarm coffee tragedy must end.  And so, I decided to knit a Bodum cozy.

Bodum cozies can either cover the entire Bodum (similar to a teapot cozy) or can wrap around the Bodum, leaving the spout free so that you can enjoy your coffee while it retains its heat.  I decided to go with the latter option and picked this pattern.  As this pattern required very little yarn, I used only yarn ball ends to stashbust and create what I think its a pleasing cozy.

Knitted cozy prior to the finishing

I knitted 4 rows of blue (Cascade Eco+ in steel blue), followed by 3 rows of charcoal grey (unknown yarn ends), and 1 row of light grey (Bernat Berella Solids) – rinsed and repeated until the cozy was about 13″ tall.  I made the cozy a bit taller because I knew I would be lining it with craft felt to make it warmer, and this would cause the knit fabric to shrink in size a bit.

For the finishing, I did single crochet in the charcoal colour around the outside of the cozy to anchor the yarn ends and created 4.5″ i-cords to be able to tie the cozy onto the Bodum.  Finally, I sewed in a piece of craft light-blue felt onto the back for insulation.  Here’s the final product:

Coffee time!
Photo courtesy of Carsen Farmer.

I think it looks great!  My friend has reported back that their coffee is much warmer now, but thinks that double-felt would make this cozy even better.  Definitely something I’m going to keep in mind if I make another.

All told, there is about 165 yards out for stashdown on a 3.75mm needle.

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