Thinking nautical thoughts

Working for a jewelry company, I frequently encounter charming, beautiful things that I’d love to own and will probably never be able to afford.

Like this 1930s bracelet I came across last year that uses nautical flags to spell out “I LOVE YOU.” Lacking a spare $14,000 for this one, however many thousand a Cartier “DEAREST” would cost, or even the several hundred dollars that contemporary charm versions run, I had temporarily disregarded my vision of a nautical bracelet spelling out my name.

For a lark, I read The Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach today. I was feeling a little homesick for the super preppy town where I grew up, and on a rainy Smarch day, I could all but taste salt water and feel the sun on my face while sailing.

One of the recurring references was to needlepoint belts and accessories, which I had all but forgotten from my childhood. There was also a cute quip about how the only acceptable “monogramming” of one’s car was perhaps to put small nautical flag decals of initials under the driver’s side door handle.

It all came together in my mind. Nautical flags totally lend themselves to grids! I charted out my full name and more commonly used nickname.



(Definitely prefer the way “Victoria” looks.)

And then I remembered the symmetry of my first, middle, and last names, with 8, 4, and 8 characters respectively. I compiled a 20-flag grid and voilĂ , an afghan pattern has all but written itself:

I thought surely someone would have already written a nautical flag afghan pattern, but a quick trip through Ravelry only brought up a crochet pattern. I am confident that with some graph paper and/or knitPro, I can come up with what I want and make myself a super-preppy afghan.

As for the bracelet, I have a few ideas I want to try, maybe including an entirely new craft. I’m psyched.

FO – iPod Sock

For such a simple project, this iPod sock has been one of the most satisfying lately.

Pattern: iPod Sock by Jillian Neary (free PDF available here), my project is here on Ravelry
Size: one size, approximately 2″x4.5″
Yarn: Mondial Extrafine 8-ply DK weight*, color 804 Orange dye lot #57, 100% Extrafine Merino; I used 9 grams, totaling approximately 34.7 yards/31.8 meters.
Needles: size 1 (2.25mm) DPNs
Modifications: None

Started: August 29, 2009
Finished: August 29, 2009

* This yarn is listed as DK weight in Ravelry, but I found it to be straight up fingering weight.

I was charmed by such a wee tiny ball of yarn left over from my Bella Catena Italiana socks, and I’d hoped to be able to use it, as it is such a decadent, lovely merino.

When I recently upgraded to a Macbook Pro (looooooove), I got a free engraved iPod because I purchased it through my school’s Apple store. I could have gotten a Nano, but I opted for a classic because it had a 120 gig drive (versus the 8 gig Nano) and well, it matches my Mac so nicely.

The trouble is, within seconds of getting my shiny new iPod, my brother dragged it across the table and scratched the silver bottom. Grrrr. I knew it needed a cozy if it was going to survive many-hour trips through Manhattan and Brooklyn.

This pattern was straightforward, easy, fast, fun, and I adore the finished product. I’m so charmed by the crispness of the edge formed by the ribbing, and even though my Kitchener stitch was surprisingly sloppy, I sort of dug the sharp edge it made. The ribbing made it nice and stretchy for a snug, happy fit.

I used all but a few centimeters of the rest of this fantastic orange yarn, which was yet another of many points of satisfaction in this great project. Highly recommended for a rainy afternoon.

(On an administrative note, I suspect I’ve gotten some of the technical problems worked out, so I hope to have a lot more to share soon!)

A Knitted Gnome

When I was at my parents’ house this weekend, my mom had a little pile of yarns on a desk in my old bedroom. They included purple and green tweed, gray mohair, and tan wool.

I thought they were great looking, so I asked if I could have them. Having already given me all her needles a year ago, my mother said sure, that’s why she put the yarn in my room.

“There’s a pattern there, too,” she said, and I ran back upstairs to see this adorable leaflet from 1987, Instructions for Making a Knitted Gnome by Darian Dragge. Suddenly I remembered my mother making gnome dolls years ago, and in that instant I positively needed to knit a gnome myself.

The kit indicated “all natural materials” and included a cute story about gnomes with instructions to make a 10″ stuffed doll. It’s really straightforward and easy, and in no time at all, I’d whipped up gnome pants and the beginning of a gnome face.

My plan is to knit all the pieces, then weigh the green bits to determine if I have enough of the purple tweed to make an entirely purple gnome.

I’m pretty excited about this project, as I’ve never knit a doll or toy before and these gnomes are spectacularly cute. If this works out as well as I hope, I see several more gnomes in my future. Heee!