Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Getting Historical!

This square isn't for a particular fandom that I'm fond of, but for an area of geekiness in which I excel.  I'm a huge history buff, focusing mainly in ancient history -- Ancient Egypt, the Greeks and Romans, right up through Medieval Europe.  When I was little, I always wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up.  Oh, who am I kidding, I still want to be an archaeologist.
Who didn't want to be Indiana Jones when they grew up ?!
Egypt has always held an especially fond place in my heart, and even if nothing else on my Bucket List gets done, I'd be perfectly content if I could get there myself one day to see the artwork and monuments.  Even as a child, I was drawn to anything Egyptian -- my Foster-Mom used to like telling the story of how whenever we'd take a trip to the Museum, I would wander off by myself.  Every time, without fail, she would find me in the Egyptian exhibit, talking to the mummy on display.  I even began correcting some of the tour guides when they made mistakes while discussing the artifacts -- I got in trouble for that one, even though I probably did know more about the exhibit than they did.

This square pays homage to someone who is probably my most beloved historical figure.  I kid you not, I have always had a serious, hard-core crush on him, despite the fact he's been dead for almost 2,000 years.  My dear husband has learned to cope with this fact remarkably well, might I add.  Without further ado, may I present to you His Royal Highness, Ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, King of the Sedge and the Bee, Nebkheperure...or, as most of you know him, King Tut.
King Tut's famous death-mask
Most people know Tut because of his famous tomb discovery in 1922, which was one of the only tombs to have had all its treasures still intact.  I was actually fortunate enough to get to see his exhibit when it came to Toronto (the guided tour was actually voiced by Mr. Harrison Ford himself -- how many archaeological exhibits can say they're led by Indiana Jones!?) Foster-Mom got me tickets, and I gushed at her over the phone for hours afterwards.  It was actually one of our last conversations before she passed, and I'm so glad I got to share it with her.  She always encouraged my passion with the past, and shared lots of stories about the places she'd been.
My Foster-Mom actually visited the Temple of Indiana Jones's Last's in Petra, Jordan
Here are just a few quick tidbits about him:

  • His father Akhenaten tried to abolish the worship of the traditional Egyptian Gods.  He worshiped the sun, spent hours staring at it every day, and eventually went blind.  And crazy.  The crazy may have come first.
  • His step-mother was Nefertiti, said to be the most beautiful Egyptian queen of all time, and it is believed that one of his Great-great-something-grandmothers was Hatshepsut, who was one of the first women Pharaohs, who dressed like a man and ruled her kingdom like nobody's business, and said "Screw you world, girls can be kings, too!"
  • His sister (and wife -- they did like to keep the royal bloodlines pure...) was Ankhsunamun...which was the name of Imhotep's girlfriend in the 1999 version of "The Mummy" with Brendan Fraser.
  • Tutankhamun brought back the worship of the old Gods after his dad died of crazy, stopped the destruction of the old temples, and if it weren't for him, we likely wouldn't have half the knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians we have today
So knitting in hieroglyphs was definitely something new for me, but thankfully this cartouche (the symbol which holds the name) was fairly simple.  It's actually Tut's royal name, Nebkheperure, spelled out.

The trouble with double-sided knitting is figuring out which side to display...
Hubby spent a good while trying to figure this one one point, he asked if it was a bowl of ramen.  While I do enjoy cups of noodles, I do not enjoy them enough to designate a square of my blanket to them.  Sorry, ramen noodles, though you are delicious.
Apparently this is a depiction of ramen noodles in a claw machine...okay, I can kind of see it...

My pattern design can be found here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Frills Everywhere!

Soooo...I may have a new addiction.  These little skirts are so quick to turn out, and super easy, since I'm basically designing them on the fly.  Each one turns out a little different, while I'm working out the basic numbers for the various sizes.  This second one is a bit bigger than the first, and it's my back-up for little Sabby's gift, in case the first one is too small.  I haven't seen her in a while, and kids have this really annoying habit of getting bigger.
I am super loving these frills lately!
 The ribbing around the waist, as well as the drawstring, means that a bit of growing room is allowed.  I can say from experience with both my girls that there's nothing sadder than finding the most adorable outfit for your little one, only to find they have outgrown it before they can ever wear it again.  Also, because they are so super cute, you will likely be too absorbed in squishing their adorable selves to take any pictures to forever prove how sweet they look...thankfully, little Arya won't likely have this problem, since Daddy's camera-trigger finger would put an Old Western gunslinger to shame.

The one thing that this whole skirt kick has emphasized for me -- which is an ongoing issue I have dealt with my whole life -- is that I have no visual sense of measurement.  I honestly cannot compute distance or size by sight, whether it's an inch or a mile.  I can look at something I've knit and say, "Oh, that's about an inch of ribbing," when it's actually closer to four...or else I can say "Yep, that's a whole six inches of stockinette!" when it's really only two.  As such, sizing is really hard for me.  I can look at something and think that it will fit the intended recipient for sure, when in reality it comes nowhere close.
The black and purple makes me heart this piece

Most of the wearable items I've made so far have been either one-sized or accessories, which is safe for someone like me...but the one thing I wanted when I first started this blog was to learn new things, and that means stepping out of my comfort zone once in a while.  This has definitely been a new experience for me, and while I may never be able to accurately judge the length of a garment on sight, I have at least learned a few things.

First of all, I have come to rely on my trusty measuring tape while I knit, and to double-check the sizing as I go.  Having the exact measurements of the recipient helps, but checking online against market sizing standards helps, too.  Also, I keep a sort of knitting journal, where I record each and every step I take in creating the piece, as well as any variations I make.  Everything from the type of yarn used to how many stitches and rows in's a great help when drafting patterns that other people could use, and it really helps keep track of what works and what might need some tweaking.  All things considered, I might have some new patterns ready to post soon!  Keep an eye out for me on Ravelry, as DizzyStitchin.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Frilly Skirt!

Ever since I got my Sashay Sparkle, I have been envisioning little frilly skirts.  Like, a ton of little frilly skirts.  For everyone.  It helps that between my friend Lioness and I, we've got three little girls under 8. It's great practice for figuring out different sizes for my patterns, and I have the safety net of knowing that even if the size is a bit off, at least one of the girls will fit it (or grow into it).

A bit of asymmetrical flair adds to the floofy-ness
This was also my first attempt at knitting in the round, and I'm super pleased with the way it turned out.  Rule number one, though, is make sure your stitches aren't twisted when you're joining them, or you'll spend about an hour undoing the rows you've knit and untangling your yarn.  Trust me.

The frills are on the purl-side of the work, which is the inside when you're knitting.  I'd stop every few rows and flip it inside-out to check that it was looking the way I wanted it to, but there was also the added plus that the knit-side ended up looking really cool, with a stripe of color where the frills were on the other side.  Honestly, I think this skirt would look great both ways -- either all ruffles, or with the ruffles just peeking out the bottom.  Hooray for reversible knitwear!
Love the way the black makes the color pop

It has taken me a while to get around to this project, mostly because I was waiting to find the perfect yarn to pair with each of the colors I have in Sashay.  Salmon, rhubarb, and emerald aren't the most common colors at my usual yarn depots, and the vibrancy of the colors made them pretty difficult to match.  Thankfully, inspiration hit me like a Glam-Rock Hair-Band (which may have come from watching too much Glee lately) and I realized I have a ginormous amount of black yarn lying about.  Hello, 80's!  

I used a length of Sashay for the drawstring waistband
I'm still working out the pattern in different sizes (there's a lot more math in knitting than I'd imagined) but for now, this one's going to little Sabby, who turned three last month.  My girls will have to wait, I guess, though probably not long, since I've got a second skirt on the needles already, in a slightly different style.  I have a feeling that there will be an abundance of frilly skirts in the girls' wardrobes shortly.  I'm also thinking up a big-girl version for me, though maybe with a little less frills.
The inside, showing off that little bit of flair