Archive for January, 2013

Crocheted Chess Set

My life has been quite busy lately so I haven’t had much time for projects. And now I’m applying for grad schools, so I expect life will continue to be busy, but I will try to update as I can. And because I don’t have any new projects finished today’s post is about an older one.

In college I took a class called Fiber Design Studio. Among many other projects we had to do a crochet project after we learned to crochet in the class. I went online and found a pattern for a checkers set that was both the board and the pieces and I made that (I would link to the pattern but I lost track of that long ago, sorry). Later for the same class we had to design our own pattern so I decided I would make up chess pieces for the checker board, cause I like to be ambitious and it didn’t occur to me that maybe that was a bit much for my second ever crochet project. But they turned out quite well.

IMG_2349

That’s the finished set at the Fiber Arts Festival a couple years ago, I put it in the exhibit. If you can read the sign in front of it there, the materials are actually listed wrong, the yarn is acrylic not wool so there is no wool in it. My mom made the sign and didn’t know that, she just assumed it was wool. You can see a bit in the picture that all the classic pieces are there in as close to classic shapes as I could get them. The knight was the most difficult because I was very definitive about wanting it to be shaped like a horse head, but I did it! The rook is also castle shaped with a flared out bit at the top and a flat top, couldn’t get any crenelations on it though. The king and queen are a little hard to tell apart, especially in this picture, but I gave the king a full crown with treble crochets and the queen has more of a tiara made out of a shell stitch at the front. I’ve thought about sewing beads on to highlight the crowns more but never got around to it. I also wrote down the patterns as I went (which is good cause I had to make multiples of each piece) and have typed out those patterns.I’ll post a copy of the patterns here and you are welcome to use them as long as you don’t claim them as your own.

The patterns are not very carefully written and will require some knowledge of crochet and how the structure of crochet works in order to use them. I may in the future go back and edit the patterns to be a bit more user friendly but since I don’t plan to sell the patterns and I can understand them just fine myself, I don’t really feel the need to do that. All of the patterns work from the bottom up and end up with an open bottom on the piece. I have experimented with different ways of closing the bottom including just improvising the stitches until the whole bottom is covered and using the same piece that is on the top of the rook and attaching it to the bottom of the pieces. None of them have been really satisfactory so I would say if you make them at all you should experiment yourself and see what you come up with. If you figure out a better way to close the bottoms of the pieces I would love to hear about it!

Bishop

Ch 12, join

Ch 1, Sc 4 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Increase every 3rd stitch for 2 rounds

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd for 1 round

Decrease every other for 1 round

Increase every stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every stitch until too few to continue

King

Ch 14, join

Sc 5 rounds

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Inc every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Decrease every stitch until top is closed

Crown: Dc ring around top of head

Queen

Ch 14, join

Sc 4 rounds

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Inc every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Decrease every stitch until top is closed

Crown: Make a shell towards top of the head

Pawn

Ch 10, join

Sc 3 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Increase every 3rd stitch for 2 rounds

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch until top is closed

Knight

Ch 12, join

Sc 4 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Ch 1 and turn, Sc 2, increase 1 each in next 2 stitches, Sc 2

Turn, Sl. St., Ch 1, Sc 6

Ch 1 and turn Sc 6

Turn Sl. St., Ch 1, Sc 2, increase 1, Sc 2

Turn, Sl. St. 2, Sc 3

Ch 1 and turn, Sc 3

Ch 1 and turn, Sc 3, Sl. St. to 3rd stitch from end

Ch 1 and turn, Sc 12 around front opening

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every other stitch for all rounds until end is closed.

Hdc 10 down center of head and back, starting towards back of head

Rook

Ch 12, join

Sc 6 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 4 rounds

Decrease every other stitch for 1 round

Ch 1, Sc one flat round (increase as many stitches as needed)

Ch 2

1 round Dc and Hdc, alternating

New piece: Ch 4, working into 4th chain, Dc 12, Sl. St. to chain

Sl. St. new piece to top of rook

Abbreviations

Sl. St.= slip stitch

Ch = chain

Sc= single crochet

Dc= double crochet

Hdc=half double crochet

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If You Give a Baron a Cookie

This project is not my usual fiber-y stuff, but it involves both paper and wood which I think qualify as fiber, and it’s the project I’ve been spending all my time on lately. I have mentioned the SCA before, and that I’m a member of the group. One of the things I really enjoy about the group is that participants earn and are given titles. One of these titles is Baron/ness. There are some local SCA groups that are so large they elect to become what is known as a Barony, which means, among many other things, they have a Baron and/or Baroness who is/are a figure head of sorts. They encourage the growth of the group and help to recognize and reward members of the group for their service and efforts.

The SCA group that I started in is a Barony, and I think it will always feel like my home group, no matter how long I live elsewhere. The man who was the Baron of the group for the whole time I lived there (and only a week ago stepped down from the post) inspired me to write a story based on the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” because, well, he was given a cookie and promptly quoted several lines from the book, completely amazing me. Little did I know he works with a children’s theater and they had recently performed a version of the story.

So I wrote the story “If You Give a Baron a Cookie”. And because I am not very good at doing anything small, I promptly decided that I needed to create the whole book, including illustrations, and that the illustrations should be done by woodcut. I had recently learned woodcarving, I blame an overabundance of enthusiasm for a new technique for that particular idea. I managed to get the book all put together, pictures in a minute, and presented it to him at court, where the Baron and Baroness along with much help from the populace, started acting the story out as I read it aloud. It was absolutely hilarious and the story is much more enjoyable when acted out. It seems to have become quite popular, which I am just tickled about. I created a second copy of the book for a friend for just this past weekend, so I was going crazy doing all that. And here are pictures after all my rambling!

 

It was important to me to make the Baron and Baroness recognizably the pair who had inspired the story, which is why the clothing is how it is. And I have been told they are quite recognizable, so it worked! And here is the whole text of the story, I do have pictures of each page but I figured I’d spare you trying to read the words through each picture and just give a few examples in pictures and type the whole text out for you.

 

If you give a Baron a cookie

He’ll want a mug of milk.
When he has a mug of milk

He’ll, of course, need somewhere to sit.
When he has somewhere to sit

He’ll want to put his feet up.
Once he puts his feet up

He will want a book to read.

If he has a book to read

He will want a lovely lady

To read it for him.
Since she is reading for him,

her throat will get dry,

And she will ask for a drink.

 

If the Baroness has a drink

The Baron will want one too.
And if the Baron has a drink

He will want a cookie.

Frilly Scarves!

Recently there’s been a bunch of yarns coming out that you just knit or crochet using an edge of the yarn and it creates a lacy, frilly scarf all by itself. They look wonderfully fancy and intricate but are in fact really simple and fast to make, often not taking more than half an hour, maybe a couple hours if you’re going slowly. One thing I have discovered is that there’s a huge variety in these yarns and they are not all created equally! The first yarn I used (which I don’t have any pictures of because I gave away the final product and forgot to take pictures first!) was essentially a ribbon yarn that had an extra section across the top where you knit/crochet. This resulted in the ribbon part bunching together and looking quite fancy and lush, very neat. This yarn was actually found by my mom’s friend and they couldn’t figure out how to use it (really they were doing everything right but the first few rows look like a mess at first) so I figured it out and just knit the whole scarf.

Then I was out getting other yarn and discovered a similar yarn on sale. “Yarn on sale” is just such a dangerous phrase for us yarn lovers! Anyway, this stuff looked a little bit different but was a LOT cheaper than the first stuff I had used and the first stuff worked so well I figured I’d get several colors of this stuff and voila! easy Christmas presents. You might have guessed by my choice of words, but that’s not exactly what happened. Basically the differences from the first yarn made it a lot more difficult to work with. I will explain with pictures.

IMG_2879 IMG_2887

This yarn is a mesh rather than a ribbon yarn with an extra border. Doesn’t seem like it would be a big issue, but when it’s wound into a ball the mesh is all collapsed down, and it has a tendency to twist. To knit just the top row of the mesh you have to spread the mesh out enough to find the top row and when the yarn twists on itself that’s even more difficult. That slowed me down considerably and was quite frustrating. So rather than the three scarves I had planned to make for Christmas with this kind of yarn, I made one. The other two may still get made for later occasions but when I make those I’m going to unwind the yarn and flatten out the mesh all the way through before I start knitting, a co-worker has told me that makes it much easier to deal with. The resulting scarf is quite pretty though, and wonderfully fun to pet and play with.

IMG_2875 IMG_2877

The other two self-ruffling yarns I’ve worked with are rather different from the first two and are much fancier. I actually discovered these two at a great little yarn shop in the Twin Cities called Unwind Yarn Shop, and, of course, they were on sale, so I just couldn’t resist! One is essentially a machine knit tube which you are supposed to knit or crochet along one edge of, I crocheted, and the other is pretty much impossible to describe but is worked in the same manner. Pictures will help.

Both of these yarns worked like a dream. I don’t think they would have been all that easy to knit with, it just seems like things would get bulky and really tight around the needles, but crocheting them was very easy. And to crochet them you are basically just chain stitching right up the side, so you don’t even need to have any experience crocheting! These also turned out just beautifully. I gave one to my mom, but the blue one is mine and I’m not letting go of it!

That’s my exploration of self-ruffling yarn. It’s some pretty cool stuff. I’m not usually that into yarns that have a specific purpose (like eyelash yarns) but these work just great and are pretty cool. You definitely get what you pay for in terms of ease of use though.

And on a completely different note, this is my thirtieth post! And, I need to learn not to write posts late at night, especially when I plan to be productive the next day! Ah, procrastination.

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