Tuesday, September 28, 2010

frog buttons

The next step is to make a frog with a button end. Nicky suggests a "single knot," but my single knot did not look anything like the photo, went through the frog loop too easily, and was not attractive. In the end, I chose a ball knot from these instructions, but I seriously considered using a square knot.

The square knot almost worked, and I think it would have been a good choice with thicker cord or a smaller loop. I use the "frog on a log" method of tying a square knot. I will show it here in case you don't know it.

Frog on a log . . .

and the log rolls over.

Frog on a log (again) . . .

. . . and the log rolls over.

Easy and attractive.

Now fold the end back around and under the frog counter-clockwise to re-make the first loop. Pin through the middle of the frog. It should look like this. (Pay no attention to the odd bits of cord at the right of the photo.)

Bring the end down and around clockwise to make the loop with the button on it. Adjust the placement of the button by tightening and loosening the knot until it's right where you want it. Unravel any extra cord from the live stitches at the end (beginning). Thread the unraveled yarn through the live stitches. Secure the loop by sewing both ends together behind the frog.

I used the cast-on tail to secure each corner of the frog to the garment. Since this garment had a folded hem, I simply tied the tails (from cast-on and bind-off) in a square knot on the wrong side, and hid each end of the knot in the hem. (If you don't know how to do this, let me know, and I'll show you!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

frog closure tutorial

Nana asked me to make some frog closures for her vest, and I was happy to do it.

I thought it would be fun.

I chose the "Basketweave Knots" from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments because they looked compact and the shape echoed those found in the intarsia design of the garment. I read the instructions, which said to leave the end on a stitch holder instead of binding off, and to "Form the frogs by using T-pins to anchor (beginning with the cast-on edge) against a piece of Styrofoam board." There was also a drawing with arrows showing the direction the cord should travel, and places marked "begin" and "end." It all seemed very clear.

I made a piece of cord, keeping the end of it on the needle. My plan was to make a frog, then untie it and measure the length I would need. But I first had to figure out the drawing. The frog was drawn completed, so the cord was going under some spots and coming back out . . . where? Maybe it's because I'm brain damaged, but it took me a while to work it out at first. And then again when I came back to it after packing my family off to the library. And then again after I had made all my cord and wanted to turn it into frogs. And then again . . .

I thought this would be fun.

So. I got the drawing figured out. I had a piece of Styrofoam board my husband had been saving for just this occasion (not likely) and T-pins. But it wasn't clear how to use the pins to anchor the cord. It seemed like I would have to constantly move the pins in order to make the knot, yet every time I moved them I lost the last three steps. Plus, I was trying to do this on the floor, and my back hurt.

Wasn't this supposed to be fun?

Having developed a good way to make these frogs, I thought I would share it with you. This method can probably be adapted to most of the frog closures in the book--but if you want to make the "Leaf Frog", you're on your own.

I calculated I would need a 10" piece of cord (using Lily Chin's Gramercy in color 15) for frogs and 12" for buttons. Here I have the cord with live stitches on the end waiting to be knotted. Since I needed 10 to 12 of these things (for 5 or 6 pairs of frogs and buttons), I didn't use stitch holders. I bound off and undid the bind-off. I could have just cut the yarn, taken a needle, and threaded it through the stitches.

Here I have the first two pins in the cord. If you look closely, you will see that I did not start with the cast-on end. Those are live stitches. Also, if you compare this to the drawing in the book, you will see that I did not pin the start point, but left it free. It is dangling off to the right of the picture and should be doubled back, under the rightmost T-pin.

Another pin.
And a third.
Now the cord has been tucked through the first loop.

Now I'm going to bring the cord up and under the right side of loop 2.
And over loop 3, and down through loop 2.
Tighten by gently tugging both ends and easing the loops.

Completed frog.

Note that some of the pictures show a very loose knotting. This is just for clarity. The fourth picture shows the approximate tightness of the finished frog.

I hope that was helpful! Next up: corresponding buttons.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

catching up

Started (and finished) another round of therapy. Milestones: walking much improved, but still can't run or hop; writing significantly faster and tidier; violin playing somewhat improved, but I have miles to go before I sleep. Danced at my cousin's wedding, Down to one 20 - 40 minute nap a day. My doctor says I will always have some spasticity.

A full draft of Harmony is done (minus the overture and underscoring). A CD of all songs (featuring the silken vocals of a famous chanteuse who wishes to remain nameless but whose technique (if not the voice itself) is too recognizable for anonymity) is now available to all those possessing a sense of humor.

And I have finished huge handfuls of knitting. More next time . . .