Sunday, January 28, 2018

Knitting an Abercrombie & Fitch Scarf

On a Black Friday shopping trip last year, Dova spotted this chunky cable knit scarf from Abercrombie & Fitch.

The regular price was a $44 (ridiculous!) and at half price, it was $22. I immediately dismissed her wish to buy it because I could easily knit her one for less, even at half price! I snapped a quick photo to capture the stitch pattern and we left. It looked pretty straightforward with a cable stitch in the center and moss stitch on the sides.

The first task was to find the appropriate yarn. With Michael's coupons, I picked up 4 skeins of Bernat Mega Chunky yarn 7 oz. in color Aran. In order to maximize coupon usage, this is technically 4 trips to the store at one coupon per type per day. Thankfully there is a store on the way home from my work (I actually did it in 3 trips, the cashier allowed me to ring up twice on the last day). At $6.99/skein, with two 50% off and two 40% off coupons, the total for the yarn was $15.38. Not so cheap after all! Full price for the yarn would be $27.97, so the Abercrombie scarf is actually cheaper at half price.

Here are the yarn and needles with an Amazon affiliate link (if you don't have a yarn store near you). Get 3 skeins of 10.5 oz (big ball) or 4 skeins of 7 oz (regular ball).

Bernat Mega Bulky Yarn, 10.5 Ounce, Aran

Darice Size 19 15mm Jumbo Knitting Needle

I picked up these knitting needles for the unbelievable Amazon Add-On price of $3.70. You can find size 19 (15mm) in other brands for under $10 on Amazon or at your local craft store (another trip with another coupon!). So my cost for creating this scarf ended up at $19.08, which only saved me $2.92 for my labor!

Before embarking on the main scarf, I practiced on smaller scrap yarn to get the pattern right. I restarted it several times and graphed it out in Excel before I got something close. Dova was worried that I was making the scarf way too tiny and I had to assure her that I was just testing the pattern and that we could give it to one of her dolls or one of our cats.

In the beginning, I got so frustrated with the edging and the look of the cable that I sent Doug to buy the scarf so that Dova could actually have what she wanted for Christmas. At that point, I had little hope of finishing in the right pattern in time for Christmas. Finally, I could do some side-by-side comparisons.

Hey, not too bad at all! But the flip side (which I had not photographed and the scarf was not yet available online) had issues. Note to self: when photographing a pattern to emulate, take pictures of both sides!

With the real scarf in hand, I was able to correct the weird rib on the backside next to the cable and see that there is a slip stitch that rolls to the backside for the edging. Since the scarf knits up so fast, I frogged it back to the ribbed section and started again. Now the backside is much better, look at that beautiful edging!

The pattern may not be an exact replica, but it's super easy to remember while knitting. All the knit rows are basically the same and there are two types purl rows, one for the ribbed section and one for the main scarf. It's possible to use slightly smaller needles, somewhere between 10 and 15 mm.

Abbreviation C4B: Slip next 2 stitches onto cable needle and leave at back of work. K2, then K2 from cable needle. I believe they did C4F (front), but I'm just used to the back, either way, it's just a cable in one direction.

Cast on 16 stitches
Row 1: K2, P, K2, P, K4, P, K2, P, K2
Row 2: Sl1P (slip one purlwise), P, K, P2, K, P4, K, P2, K, P2
Row 3: Sl1K (slip one knitwise), K, P, K2, P, K4, P, K2, P, K2
Repeat rows 2 & 3, 5 times
Row 14: Sl1P, P2, K, P8, K, P3

Row 15 (cable): Sl1K, K, P, K2, P, C4B, P, K2, P, K2
Row 16: Sl1P, P2, K, P8, K, P3
Row 17: Sl1K, K, P, K2, P, K4, P, K2, P, K2
Row 18: Sl1P, P2, K, P8, K, P3
Repeat rows 17 and 18, then go back to row 15 and repeat this block for the main part of the scarf.

When the scarf reaches 6.5 feet or so, end on a cable row and then switch back to Rows 2 and 3 for 13 rows (end on a purl row). Cast off on the knit side in pattern. The Abercrombie scarf is actually about 8 feet long, and this one is a bit shorter, but still long enough to be stylish.

On Christmas, Dova first opened my scarf which she saw me knit and was actually impressed with my knitting abilities. Then Doug gave her the surprise gift of the actual A&F scarf. She loved them both!  Here they are side by side:

Mom's handknit scarf

Abercrombie & Fitch scarf

I prefer my handknit scarf myself! The yarn is shinier and silkier than the Abercrombie yarn, but it a bit heavier. She's worn the Abercrombie scarf with the ends tucked into the loop so it looks like an enormous lifesaver. They could put her in the ad!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Shipping up to King Richard's Faire!

King Richard's Faire Family

Hear ye! It's time once again to head to Carvershire for King Richard's Faire! This was our second year visiting the enchanted forest. Watch our whole visit below in only one minute and 20 seconds! In case you're wondering how I managed to stitch iOS live photos together, I used the Google Motion Stills app to export the videos and then Videoshop to put all the still photos, live photos and videos together (there's no one magic app to handle live photos). Click the sound on to sing along at the end!

This time, we tried to see shows that we missed last year and also try new foods. Here are the shows we watched:
  1. Draiku aerial show (breathtaking, see video clips)
  2. Daniel Duke of Danger (watched again for my mom)
  3. The King's Tournament (can't miss the jousting!)
  4. The Mud Show by the Sturdy Beggars - this is clearly the loudest show in the land so I wanted to check it out. And true to it's name, it's muddy and bawdy, and somewhat entertaining if you like getting dirty.
As usual, here's the rundown of the money spent. Clearly I didn't read last year's post about starting with less food tickets and started with more! Here's how 70 food tickets were spent this year:
  1. $12 for a turkey leg (tasty, smoked and tender, shared by all)
  2. $12 for water bottles (3 bottles at $4 each)
  3. $10 for Caesar chicken wrap (a bit too much dressing)
  4. $10 for chicken gyro (pretty tasty)
  5. $12 for chicken fingers and fries (Adam doesn't like to try new things)
  6. $8 for Blue Moon pumpkin ale with a pumpkin spice dipped cup (very tasty!)
  7. $5 for root beer float (had to have this again, made with soft serve ice cream)
  8. $1 as a souvenir:
    King Richard's Faire food ticket
Notice that we only really had four meals and drinks split between five people (I snatched bites of everyone's food), so your food dollars may vary. But I was glad to actually get a beer this time and chomp on a turkey leg.

Here's what we spent on other games and goods at the Faire:
  1. $5 for a ring for Lady Dova (she remembered to wear her flower wreath from last year)
  2. $7 for bartender and performer tips (well deserved)
  3. $4 for Dova to throw ninja stars (one stuck, see video!)
  4. $8 for Adam and I to ride the Sky Chair Swing (too dizzy for me)
In the end, we spent less than last year because we kept Master Card and Lady Visa at bay for the pricier merchandise.

Now it's your turn to visit King Richard's Faire. The knights are waiting!

Photo by Tim Rice.

Disclaimer: I received admission tickets courtesy of Dennehy PR, thank you Lady Julie!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Lighted Crochet Christmas Tree

This glowing tree was inspired by Petals to Picot Cone Christmas Tree pattern. Since I already had two shades of green Super Saver yarn and a mini LED light set, it was the perfect project!

This idea started from this ugly knitted tree we saw at Target. I thought I could make a better tree decoration than that!

A quick look around the internet for yarn trees got some "interesting" alternatives. Sure you can just throw yarn onto a cone with some glue, but where's the skill in that?

Here's the one stop shopping list for the materials the lighted crochet tree (Walmart is cheaper for Super Saver yarn and foam core!):

Red Heart Super Saver Yarn Glow Worm (what I used)
or Red Heart Super Saver Yarn Spring Green

Red Heart Super Saver Yarn Paddy Green

FloraCraft Packaged Styrofoam Cones, 12-Inch-by-4-Inch

20 Warm White Micro LED Battery Operated String Lights

For the pattern, I found that following the Petals to Picot pattern ended up flaring the cone to quickly as well as producing bent lines where the increases were. So after frogging half the project, I modified the pattern to something that fit better and is far more intuitive to keep track of.
  1. Using an size F, 3.75 mm crochet hook, create a magic ring with 4 sc.
  2. In each row, work 1sc into every stitch and 2sc into in a random stitch in the row. Each row will have exactly one stitch more than the previous row.
  3. Alternate yarn color randomly every 1 to 4 rows.
  4. After reaching a few inches in length, check the fit in the styrofoam cone (works best with the plastic wrap on).
  5. If the work starts to flare out, skip the increase on the next row. I found that I had to skip the increase about every 3rd or 4th row.
  6. Keep checking the fit every time you change yarn color, or every other row.
  7. Continue until the piece reaches the bottom of the cone.
How's that for a super simple pattern with no counting! At the bottom, I ended up with 66 stitches in the last row. If you end with a multiple of 6, you can attach the bottom piece on stitch for stitch.

For the bottom piece, crochet a simple circle using the same color at the bottom of the cone:
R1: 6sc in magic ring – 6
R2: inc around – 12
R3: (sc, inc) around – 18
R4: (2sc, inc) around – 24
R5: (3sc, inc) around – 30
Continue adding rows with incremental sc's amounts until you reach the same diameter as the cone.
To assemble, use a crochet hook to fish out the tiny LEDs from the inside. Stuff the tip of the cone with polyfill. Carefully fit in the styrofoam cone without dislodging the LEDs. I just kept the plastic wrap on the cone. Join the top and bottom pieces together by crocheting through both pieces with a slip stitch. Having the bottom fit exactly to the cone is one of my favorite parts!

In the daytime, the lights are so small, you can barely see them.

But in the evening, it becomes something magical!

Lighted Crochet Christmas Tree
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