Guardians of the Galaxy Knitting Patterns Part 2: We Are Groot

This weekend my girlfriend and I made another trip to the cinema to see Guardians of the Galaxy. We saw it a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it but we both agreed that it’s much better the second time around.

So is this Guardians-inspired pattern post.

The first time around there were basically no Guardians of the Galaxy themed patterns on Ravelry. Not even a Groot! Can you imagine? Life was bleak, times were hard. Then some fabulous and industrious souls began working their obsession into useful patterns for us lowly addicts. Lo, a bunch of patterns are now readily accessible. Well… a bunch of Groot patterns anyway!

Here are a few of the cutest.

As ever, these aren’t my patterns. They’re ones I have collected for fellow fans in my bored browsing of geeky patterns. Enjoy.

By Twinkie Chan.
Pattern and photo by Twinkie Chan.

Baby Groot

Download for free on Ravelry.

Look at him. LOOK. I challenge anyone not to be thoroughly in love with that last scene where baby Groot is dancing along to the Jackson Five. The only thing that would make this cute little tribute better is a soundtrack.

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Pic and pattern by Mirella Designs.

Dancing Groot Chart

Download for free on Ravelry.

Looking to make your own thing and need a Groot chart to finish it up? Here you go! This would look great on a bag, wouldn’t it? Or even a blanket if you’re feeling adventurous.

Pic and Pattern by Kamila Krawka Krawczyk.
Pic and Pattern by Kamila Krawka Krawczyk.

Baby Groot 2

Download for free on Ravelry.

This last one is a tad more complicated than the other but it’s just as doable and potentially even more adorable. Just look at all the lovely details on this. I would love to stuff wire into his arms to make him pose.

A New Online Knitting Toy

Wandering around the Twitterverse with all my lovely knitting buddies brings some interesting things to my bookmarks bar. Today it’s Yarnsub which might be my new favourite knitting tool online.

It’s a simple enough idea. Type in the yarn, find other yarns that would match up in fibre, weight, etc. It’s handy if you don’t particularly like the yarn a pattern calls for or if you have none of the necessary one in your stash/LYS and are looking for a substitute.

If you’re anything like me, it’s also a good way to waste half an hour randomly clicking through yarns and being struck by the urge to buy all of them even if that isn’t at all possible.

Yet.

The layout is pleasing and simple. Here’s what I get when I search for Malabrigo Sock:

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And here’s how the suggestions work:

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Isn’t that the most useful thing ever?

The site is run by Wendy Peterson and her husband. Wendy runs the site Muddy Sheep and it’s one I’ve visited before. Sometimes despite the masses of us it does feel like the knitting world is very small!

What are your favourite online knitting tools?

Linen Stitch Meadow Bag

There is something soothing about linen stitch. When I started knitting I hated anything where you had to switch quickly between knit and purl. I didn’t like moss/seed stitch and I didn’t want to do 1×1 ribbing. Somehow that has changed and now I enjoy the rhythmic movements involved in most of these stitches.

I still hate 1×1 ribbing but that’s more of an aesthetic thing than anything. Give me 2×2 ribbing or give me death!

Linen stitch goes surprisingly quickly once you are used to it. Knit one, hold yarn in front, slip one, knit one, hold yarn in front, slip one. The stitches appear in no time at all despite the fact it’s like knitting half a row at a time.

The fabric you end up with looks almost woven. It doesn’t stretch vertically which makes it perfect for a bag. Knitted in the round (on an odd number of stitches) you don’t even have to pay attention to where you are in the row as it continues on indefinitely. It’s mindless and perfect for the absent-minded knitting you do when reading or watching a movie (or, if you’re me, working at a call centre).

Thanks to being at work during 90% of daylight hours I couldn't get a very good photo.
Thanks to being at work during 90% of daylight hours I couldn’t get a very good photo.

This bag is going to be a gift. I didn’t use a pattern. I might write up how I made it for anyone else trying to figure out how to use that yarn that’s not suitable for next-to-the-skin usage. It would look just as good in a gaudy colourway as it does in this gorgeous green tonal yarn.

Don’t you think it looks like a meadow? I could stitch some sheep on it. Some little flowers. It would be extra adorable.

First I’ll find myself a funky button to sew on the front. What’s a bag without a button?

The Coffee Fiasco

Normally I am one of those obnoxious morning people. I wake up perky and ready to go. Last Friday I didn’t find it quite so easy thanks to the cold weather making bed seem like a much better choice than anything ever so by the time I got to work I was barely alert.

When I’m tired I get clumsy. I really should have known better than to put my (large) coffee next to my handknit fingerless gloves.

You can see where this is going.

Thankfully the impressive amount of milky, sweet caffeine avoided my kindle and my work computer but it soaked my headset and the gloves. I spent the first ten minutes of my day mopping it up. Because I was at work I couldn’t dump the gloves in water so by the time I had the chance to clean them they had been stewing in coffee for hours and hours.

Best thing is I don’t usually take much milk in my coffee and very rarely take sugar. Of course I had to spill it that day.

It has taken three separate washes in Soak scentless to get rid of the smell. Fortunately the Manos Del Uruguay I used for the gloves was already a deep brown/red/purple so if there’s a stain it looks deliberate. I can’t tell the difference. Imagine if it had been my pale blue shawl or my sparkly pink cardigan!

Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to – share your spillage/ruined knits disasters with me below. We can commiserate in our clumsiness together.

Three Months in Ontario

Friday was the three month anniversary of moving back to Ontario. The first time I’d lived here three months I was a quarter of the way through my time in the country; now I’m here for good. And boy is it good.

Aside from the obvious benefits of being on the same continent as the person I love, it’s great to get settled in with the other people I had missed. The places too.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time with The Knit Studio lot in Newcastle but it’s also nice to be back visiting The Little Green House in Whitby and today I worked a couple hours there which was good fun. Especially since it went straight into buying myself some yarn which I’ve been unable to do much since I got here.

Yarn haul 006

This is Berroco Ultra Alpaca. It’s a little more greeny than it looks in this picture. I have three skeins and it’s going to be transformed into the Brandywine Falls shawl which I’ve wanted to make for years and haven’t started yet. I’m casting on right now.

I haven’t knit with Berroco much before but this alpaca blend is super soft and a gorgeous colour. It’s slightly the wrong weight and I don’t have the right needles but if it doesn’t look right, I’ll frog it and try something else. No biggie. Hopefully it will work out as the shawl is gorgeous. I remember looking at it years ago and wondering if I would ever be good enough to make it. Thanks to hours and hours of knitting for months and months it looks positively simple!

Yarn haul 003This is some Regia sock yarn. I’m not going to say anything else about it as it is destined to be a surprise gift for someone, although I will mention that whenever I think I’m not in the mood to knit socks I prove myself wrong.

Bonus feature of this picture: my cubics. They are my favourite DPNs by far. I don’t like knitting with metal but I break the bamboo DPNs every five rows or so which is where the lovely Knitter’s Pride needles come in. They are much more difficult to break. The cubics make my gauge ever so slightly looser too which helps with the wanton needle destruction.

While I was in Whitby I also perused a Heritage Fair thing that was happening, admiring all the small local businesses and their wares. I bought myself an all-natural lip balm from one stall. It’s minty.

I also met Tony again, my llama boyfriend.

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Here he is with an ice-cream cone in his mouth. He was less amorous than before today unfortunately. I got zero kisses. Still I remain thoroughly enamoured of this llama who has changed my perception of the animals completely.

No matter how hard I try, Nari won’t agree to buy me one. Considering we’re in a basement apartment with not much spare room I suppose she has a point or two against it.

I still want one.

As a nice ending to a lovely day I went to Cupcake Junkie. Back when I worked at the mall a lovely lady called Jessica opened up a stall for a month selling cupcakes. She spoke of wanting to open a cafe so I was extremely pleased to realise she had opened it while I was away. Guys, it’s the cutest place ever. I had a tomato dip with bread that was just beautiful along with some coffee and a salted caramel cupcake. Delicious. It’s so exciting to see nice people realise their ambitions too! If you’re ever in Whitby and get the chance to visit, go! It’s lovely.

No I didn’t get pictures of the cupcake. I was to busy shoving it into my face.

Exploring Romney Fibre

Lately every time I admire the texture of a knitted item it seems to be either linen stitch or herringbone. There’s something about them that is almost non-knitted, as though they are some other kind of fancy magical craft like weaving or suchlike. I thought I had better give one of them a go.

I used a fairly simple tutorial which you can find here. Linen stitch is almost as basic as you can get but the dense fabric it creates is very pleasing. Perfect, thought I, for a bag. And lo, I happen to have some yarn that almost immediately made me want to make a bag with it.

Yarn 005

This yarn was a birthday gift from Tamara, my girlfriend’s sister. It’s Romney and it’s hand-dyed/spun. It’s as close as I could get to the real colour which is a rich and slightly tonal grass-green. Very classy. I love the dramatic plying.

Of course since I’ve never heard of a Romney sheep I had to go look one up.

800px-Romneyram1
Credit: Wikipedia

Just look how happy this dude is. I would be too if I had legs as woolly as that (I’ve shaved mine recently). I have to admit that this guy looks like the little puffy clouds with legs we all drew as kids when asked to draw sheep – at least in the UK, even though I grew up on an island with much more unusual looking breeds.

The Romney yarn is scratchy so it’s not suitable for right next to the skin unless you’re into that sort of thing, and I’m told some people are. It talks all sorts I suppose. It’s super squishy though and I do like a good crunch to my yarn so I’m happy with it.

The main downside is that this was not well-cleaned before spinning. Half the goddamn field is in this yarn. I’ve picked out as much as I can but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it would be a lot less scratchy if it hadn’t been plied with a haystack. I know it comes from an independent dyer/spinner but I’ve used plenty of indie yarns and never found it to be this much of a problem before.

After casting on a random bag (no pattern) to see what happens, I’d say I quite enjoy knitting with this yarn. It’s not well-made. It’s uneven to the point of being bizarre and there’s too much straw in it but I like a good scratchy wool because I’m a weirdo.

I’m changing my posting schedule slightly – Monday/Wednesday/Saturday. Stay tuned for Saturday’s images of how this yarn looks knitted up.

Have you worked with Romney before? Am I alone in my love for scratchy natural fibres?

A Birthday and A Doctor

On 11th September I completed my 27th lap around the sun. This involved celebrations that would ensure a continued existence. My girlfriend cooked us some delicious clam chowder and proved that she is superior to the vast majority of humans by uttering the phrase “I’m going to add extra bacon”. Then she disappeared into the bathroom and emerged somehow with a chocolate truffle cake with 20 candles, thereby making me feel much younger. Very kind, that one.

After stuffing ourselves silly we settled down with our laptops for our usual hard night of partying and adventure (aka sitting in comfortable silence) and had cups of tea in a fancy teapot out of fancy china cups.

You wanna bet I stuck my pinkie out.

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Lately I haven’t been able to buy much yarn (except a couple cakes of dishcloth cotton) so at least I got a skein of it for my birthday. Watch out later in the week for its debut onto this blog – I think I’ve decided what to knit with it. The only problem is what to watch while I’m doing it as I have now officially run out of Due South to rewatch. My life is devoid of mounties and Chicago cops once more. After an enjoyable evening watching Doctor Who with a friend I’m thinking of starting that series again.

This time I’ll start with David Tennant: I’ve rewatched Christopher Eccleston’s episodes so many times I’m burnt out on him. Sorry, Nine. You’re fabulous but I need a break.

Which brings me to the second point: I LOVE the new Doctor. Love him. Twelve is a dick, standoffish, angry. He’s morally (and literally!) grey. He is not the big kid we’ve grown to know and love.

It’s amazing.

peter-capaldi_12th-doctor_doctor-who

Not only is Peter Capaldi doing an excellent job with his attack eyebrows, he’s also creeping me out pretty much constantly. I like that ambiguity in a character where you’re not entirely certain whether you would want to be in the same room with them or not. I like that he’s brittle and doesn’t like touching but still so obviously cares.

I also love Clara. They’ve installed a character into her now, updating her previous ‘flat plot point’ status from before. Good job, Doctor Who Writing Team. Keep it up.

Is anyone else watching? What do you think? And what are you knitting while you watch it?

A nerd with needles. // New posts Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

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