Saturday, July 19, 2008

"It All Started With a Mouse"

Yes, that is a famous quote by the ingenious Walt Disney. And this week my obsession has been because of that famous mouse. We finalized plans for our vacation to Walt Disney World and I, of course, must decide what project I can knit on the plane, in the park, waiting, at the hotel, by the pool, to name a few. I had several factors I needed to take into consideration.

First, it's going to be hot, knitting is no fun when you are sweating. So nothing large, in wool, or mohair, etc.

Second, limited space in my suitcase and my carry-on. Not to mention I have told my two children endless times we can't take very much and must travel light, so I should probably follow my own advice. I don't need to fill my suitcase half full with multiple skeins of yarn! (Must save room for souvenirs!)

Third, it needs to be compact, nothing complicated and not anything with a pattern that I have to follow too closely. And I don't want to drag my whole bag of knitting needles and accessories, just so I could lose most of it on the plan or at the park.

And it has to be something related to Disney. (And yes, this is a spoiler for my friends and family so be warned, yes you are getting dishclothes for Christmas and yes, it will be in the Disney theme.)

With all that in mind I tried to find a pattern for a dishcloth...good luck the copyright issues make is impossible to find such a thing. ( Mind you I forgot THE most important place to look until after I had already done a prototype, Raverly!) I went to bed earlier this week trying to figure out what I could do and that is when I got an idea.

Why not take Becka's flower power pattern and modify it to look like the famous Mickey Mouse Shadow? So the next morning, I got to work and this is what I finally come up with. This photo was taken as I was blocking it. The large circle curls terribly because of the stockinette stitch and I wanted to see if blocking it would help. (It didn't) I was quite impression with myself for figuring it out, but as all good designers, I wasn't completely satisfied with the final look.

The ears just didn't look quite right so I wanted to make adjustments to those, and I thought maybe there were just a bit too far apart. After I thinking it over, I decided to make a pattern. I used a Disney clipart picture that we have and adjusted it until I matched the size of the large circle. I wanted to keep the large circle pretty much the same as the center of the flower dishcloth. I set this pink mouse shadow aside to dry. (It however has been frogged and is looking forward to becoming a new and improved mouse shadow.)

And started this...

I adjusted the ear by making sure my longest rows equaled the same as my cast ons, that would even the circle shape out and give it a more rounded effect. That worked, and then I attempted to cast on the large circle. Once I got the correct number of cast ons, I got another set of needles and worked on the second ear. I attempted to attach the ear and add the middle cast ons. After a couple of attempts, I needed to adjust how I did the large circle. I found a better way to attach the ears and to cast on the correct number of stitches to do the large circle. But even that was difficult. Trying to knit the first row, I dropped a couple of cast on stitches, which couldn't be easily fixed. I tried do a seed stitch, but it didn't work either. I tried several more times, only discover in my last attempt I twisted my stitches. (So now it's just ears, but they are such nice ears!)
In order to complete this project, I have to actually get it to work, and then be able to do it on a plane, or in the park. I also need to use stitch markers, one to keep track of rows, but also to help with the large number of cast ons. (I can see it now, DH is trying to show my some major attraction at WDW and I yell at him "not now I am counting!" Not good, not good at all!) I also need to have some kind of cutter with me. Not to mention two sets of circular needles I have to keep track of. As cute as my project is, I don't see that it's going to be a great traveling project. Of course I can do them at home, with all my supplies in a quiet chair in the living room, but I really want to do something Disney related at WDW!

The other night I had taken my knitting with me to church and I learned that one of the ladies was also trying to do something similar to this a few months ago, except in crochet. Her sister is the one I did the castle cake for, and she was trying to make her something like I was for her sister, who loves anything mickey mouse related. That gave me a great idea! I had to learn to crochet and I had to learn to do a mouse shadow like that.

So with a new crochet book in hand, internet searching (again), and determination I set out to learn to crochet a mouse shadow. I finally was able to figure it out, with the help of a couple of books, and the internet! And this is what I have so far!
My only really issue is how to keep it from curling and not lying flat. I am not using a pattern, can't really understand crochet patterns yet, but figured out enough to make a foundation ring, and use a single crochet and double crochet stitch. I left a little bit of open space on the ears so I could sew them on the large circle . I am not finished with the large circle/face, still making adjustments as I go. But so far I am pleased with my efforts. It's likely that once I tweak it enough I will take this to WDW as my project. I don't need any stitch markers, just a crochet hook, some yarn, small cutter, and my pattern. Maybe a needle, but if I do any seaming that would be done in the hotel room or the plane. If you have any ideas or suggestions for either pattern, leave me a comment or email me through ravelry (link on the right). Ticker
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