Whatever!

What to muse about today?

May 20, 2015 ~ Finished Objects

Teagan’s Slippers

I finally finished a few things this week.  Some slippers and a shawl.  I made my very first tassels!

Ashlin’s Slippers

A few weeks ago, or months, I had made some slippers for Ashlin with some left-over sock yarn.  I had quite a bit of two or three different yarns after I made the socks.  A bit more than I wanted to use for the patchwork quilt I’m making with the other leftovers.  I decided to make up some slippers to use it up. A super fast, double-stranded pattern.  I quickly seamed up Ashlin’s and then started on Teagan’s, but got sidetracked with a crochet sundress and another project or two.  Teagan was eager for me to finish, she would look longingly at the flat pieces of knitting, asking every few days or so when they’d be done.

I can’t wait for her to see them tomorrow.

The other project I finished was the Christmas Shawl I made using the Baktus pattern, a pattern where you increase the row width until you use half the yarn, then you start decreasing.  Eventually you use all the yarn and have a triangle shaped shawl.  I used this project to try my first color work, alternating a red and green cotton yarn I had been gifted.

Tassels!

Working with two strands of yarn is a bit fiddly, but not too bad once you get the hang of it.

I’m glad to finally have the tassels done.  They weren’t as annoying to make as I thought.  I had avoided making them once I finished the body of the shawl, wearing it with the yarn tails hanging, unfinished.  It was the perfect colors for Christmas :D

Now, I can put it away with the other winter things.

Next up, finding the time to get Teagan to sit still long enough for me to place the straps on her crocheted sundress so I can finish that as well.

LOL.

 

 

 

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September 11, 2014 ~ Legwarmers

Ashlin is on the brink of outgrowing her pink leg warmers I made last year, so I’m making a new set. These may be a bit too long though.

I think they should be pretty well matched. I hope they will be!

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First one!

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Close!

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April 15, 2014 ~ Bumpy Blankets

Look!  A yarn cake! #ballwinder

Cake!

So, yeah. Life got busy – Birthdays, travel, work, kids.  So, instead of dealing with all that, (though I do promise a birthday post!), let’s talk about a yarn project.  It’s easier, for now, anyway.

The lovely friend who gave me this awesome yarn, also had a spare ball winder…  and gifted it to me.  This is the first yarn cake I ever made.  So much fun!  Cake!  I didn’t think I’d really enjoy the winder, but oh, I do.  It’s so lovely.  Watching the skeins quickly disappear is really a joy, much more than winding them yourself.  A swift would have been super helpful back then, but that’s food for another post…

The girls needed blankets for Stu’s car.  He takes them to day care at times in his car, and they complained to me a few times about being cold in it.  And with the spare Lumpy Bumpy yarn, I had more than enough yarn to make them each a blanket.  I decided to crochet one and knit the other

 

#knit #car #blanket in progress #lumpybumpy

Knit Lumpy Bumpy

The knit one is very similar to the Big Button Wrap, but with slightly different dimensions.  Still, fun to watch the color and texture variations appear.

First #lumpybumpy #car #blanket is done #crochet

Crochet Lumpy Bumpy

The crochet version looked a bit like cauliflower as it worked up.  I needed to start over, I was using a hook that was a bit too small, and the stitches were coming out a bit too tight.  Redoing it with a slightly larger hook gave it a bit more airy look.  There’s no big pattern for this at all, just a chain that was about 34 inches long, and I crocheted until it was about 24 inches long.  I did finish it off with a quick single crochet border, but nothing fancy.  The yarn really didn’t need it.

I may have used about twice as much yarn in the crochet version than the knit, for about the same dimensions, not that I was keeping track.  I do think the color and texture work a bit better with crochet…

 

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Crochet

Ashlin told me she likes the crochet one better than the knit… Teagan doesn’t seem to mind either…

I think I have another two hanks of this hiding downstairs…

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February 22, 2014 ~ Hats and Knickers

Hats, K.Swanson picture, donation

Hats made for PatPat’s Hat donation

Look at all those hats!  All of these hats were donated to PatPat’s Hats.  Each one intended to make a sick little kid just a little bit happier.  Make them feel a bit more loved and cared about.  When I heard that someone from day care was collecting hats, I immediately started looking for a pattern.  Hats are fun, quick, gratifying to make.

The yarn I had left over from one of the baby blankets would be perfect for a hat.  I had a bit more than usual left over, as I hadn’t had time to make the add-on bit.  It is acrylic,  washable, one of the few asks the site has.

Of course, I had to Google and search a ton before I found a hat.  I didn’t want to do just the same old hat pattern, I wanted something different, something that would help expand my skills, or just keep me a bit more interested than and around and around knit.

Mistake Mistake Rib hat

I ended up choosing the Mistake Rib pattern, worked up a hat in the 12 month size.  Since I was using a heavier weight than the pattern, it should be good for a 3-4 year old.  While I was going around, I forgot to do the mistake part (knit every other round of rib).  Oops.  So it’s not really a mistake rib, while being a true mistake.

While making this, I tried magic loop, which I found a bit awkward having all the loopy bits of the cable in the way.  Also tried splitting the stitches on four double pointed needles, and that was weird too.  Knitting in a triangle is much easier for me than a square!  Still, I made it through, without too many issues.

I hope someone chooses my hat!

~~

In other news, Ashlin wore knickers all day.  No accidents!  She wore them with a pair of legwarmers that tickled her pink:

Leg warmers AND birdie knickers!!

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February 20. 2014 ~ Simple Lines

Simple Lines

Not too long ago I knit a second baby blanket for a co-worker. One who was expecting (not had!) a baby boy.  I got a skein of that lovely blue denim marl yarn that I used for the lacy crochet blanket.  Wanting a pattern that would be easy enough to do while watching tv at night, I googled away.

I really enjoy the patterns that aren’t too complicated – though those are fun too! – and don’t need to pull to much of me into actually working them.  Something a bit more than just back and forth, but not too much counting.  The pattern Simple Lines – Vertical Stripes was perfect!  An interesting border, simple pattern, but a bit of elegance.  I quite enjoyed working this up.

I will admit to using a technique suggested by a friend – writing the pattern on index cards, a card for each row.  When I mentioned to her how I got lost while working on the Time Turner shawl, she said she highlighted (on her iPad) the row she was working on.  I don’t usually use my iPad when I knit or crochet.  The index cards worked very well, and they’re easy to carry around.

My one learning on this project was how to fix garter stripes.  Fixing stockinette is easy, now.  Garter is a bit tricky, but not too bad.  I do love learning new things, strengthening my skills.

Usually I try to make a hat, or a lovey, to go along with the blankets.  This pattern had a matching hat, though I ended up not having enough time between finishing the blanket and needing to gift it.  I think I’ll end up making the Squares pattern, maybe for a girl, and I’ll work the hat up too.

Blocking Lines

PS. The recepient of this blanket was very touched. He wasn’t expecting me to make him anything, we don’t really work together much, though he has seen me knit and crochet at work – at lunch – before. I hope his baby enjoys it too!

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January 17, 2014 ~ Distractions

Sunny Blanket in Blue

So this is the latest knitting project I’ve finished.  It’s the Sunny Baby Blanket from the TLC website.  I worked it up in the blue as it will be gifted to a co-worker who has a baby boy a few weeks ago.  A baby he hadn’t told us was coming, so I wasn’t able to get it to him earlier.  I finished it over the holiday, and will be seeing him next week.

Blocking seems to have evened out the stitches a bit, and made the lines straighter.  I love my makeshift blocking table, though my husband would probably appreciate it if I could do it somewhere else.  He likes using the dining room when he plays his race car game. (To be fair, the game sounds like fun, real race tracks, realistic cars, actual race procedure with qualifying and test runs).  But he gave it up for me.  Sweetie.

I’m almost done with another blanket, Simple Lines, which will also be for a co-worker.  Though this one is expecting a boy, to arrive sometime in February.  I’ll also be seeing him this week.  I started this one on a set of circular cubic needles, but got a belated (self-chosen) Three Kings present…

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New Toy

… and switched over to one of the new tips to finish.  They’re lovely.  I think after this blanket, I may switch over to something smaller, maybe something on double pointed needles.  Maybe even my first pair of socks!

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November 15, 2013 ~ Someone to Marry Me

Dancing

Happy

I’m getting a bit delinquent updating with fun stories… So! Here we go!

The other night, Stu took Teagan upstairs early, hoping to make her bedtime routine a bit easier on everyone. I stayed downstairs watching Peg + Cat with Ashlin. Upstairs, they read books.  One of the stories was the Little Mermaid. After they finished, Teagan tells Stu that she’s going to marry Prince Eric.  Their conversation went something like this:

Teagan: I’m going to marry Prince Eric.

Stu:  Eric, like at Day Care? (Eric is one of the administrators)

T:  Yes, Eric from day care.

S:  You should make sure he’s not already married.  Do you know if he’s married?

T:  No. Well, if Him is, I will marry you.

S:  Teagan, I’m already married to your mother.

T:  Well, then I’ll marry mama. And you can go somewhere else.

S:  But your mama is married to me.

T:  Oh, ok, well then I’ll marry Bobby (one of the boys in her class).

S:  Oh.

Teagan ended up having a much easier bedtime, so win all around.

Another night, again with the Little Mermaid – she seems to be quite the trouble maker! – Teagan started a different type of conversation:

T:  Why does Ariel have purple nibbles (she still calls then nibbles, not nipples)

S:  They aren’t purple, it’s a bikini.

T:  What’s a bikini?

S:  It’s a type of bathing costume.

T:  Oh.  Ok.  Do men have breasts?

S:  Uh.  Yes, but they aren’t like women’s.

T:  Does Mama have breasts?

S:  Yes,  you know that.

T:  Oh, ok.  Read me a monster story.

Ashlin has had her share too, but somehow the only ones I remember revolve around “unnewear” and pooping.  I get all the luck.

PS. I added an idiot string to her mittens :D

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Stop hitting yourself!

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November 15, 2013 ~ Mittens and a Scarf

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Thumb!

Last week or so, I finished Tegan’s mittens.  I used a pattern from Ravelry – a pattern using double pointed needles.  It was a bit different than the thumbless ones I did for Ashlin, but not too different, and the thumb bit seemed pretty straightforward.

As is usually with DPN’s, the beginning is a bit fiddly, but gets easier after a few rows.  By the time I got a bit of the wrist and lower palm done on the first one, I realized the pattern would be too big for my little girl, so I modified the pattern to be a bit smaller.  (I took a round out before dividing for the thumb, then did nine rounds for the thumb instead of 12, 13 rounds on the fingers instead of 20, one repeat of the decrease pattern for the little finger shaping).  Turned out perfect for the little hands.

Par for the course, I miscounted/misread how to divide the stitches off the needles for the thumb.  The second mitten has the proper alignment, so there isn’t a V on the palm.  I’m sure Teagan will never notice, though I won’t make the same mistake again.

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Kitchener Stitch

Another improvement over Ashlin’s mittens was figuring out how to do a proper Kitchener stitch! Woo woo!  I still have a bit of work to do with the tension at the start and end of the graft, but so much better than my first two attempts.

I’m going to work up another set of mittens – one for each girl – using yarn that match the hats I crocheted last year.  Mittens that I won’t mind them getting too wet or dirty while playing at day care.  These mittens, I’d like them to try to keep looking nice.




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V

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No V












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Scarf

I also made Teagan a scarf, mimicking the pattern of her hat – a row of purl stitches between a bunch of stockinette.  Initially, I had tried to do some double seed stitches on the edges, but they curled, and I didn’t like how they looked.  Then I tried regular seed stitch, and that still curled.  So, back to a simple garter border.  This curled a little bit, but with a little blocking, stayed flat.

I spent one night fringing both girls scarves.  Somehow that seems to be more annoying to do than weaving in ends though not quite as bad as sewing pieces together.

Eventually, I blocked everything.  Soaked all the hats, mittens and scarves in a pot then stretched them out on my make-shift blocking board.  I used my lace blocking wires to make nice, straight edges on the scarves.  No scallops here!  It was super easy pinning them this way, though threading the wires is a bit tedious.  The hats just had a minimum amount of shaping, as well as Ashlin’s mitts.  Teagan’s mittens, however, needed a bit more shaping.  I still need to weave in the ends on them, but they do look a lot nicer now.  All of them look nicer now.

When people ask if it’s worth blocking knit items –  and crochet – I say yes.  Just about everything I’ve blocked has looked better, more square, more lacy, more even, than before it was blocked, even if it was a light block.

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On Wires


I'm blockin' here!!!  Love my blocking wires! #knit #mittens #scarf #hat.

Blocking!

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October 23, 2013 ~ Lacy and Lovey

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Lacy Blanket and Lovey

Not too long ago my mom and I were out shopping and she started looking at boy clothes.  I reminded her that we had two girls, no boys.  She told me that one of her friends daughters had/was having a baby boy.  At the time, I had very little in a project queue, so I offered to crochet her a blanket as a gift.  All she needed to do was buy the yarn and I’d crochet it up and have it ready for her in the next few weeks – we were going to be seeing them in three weeks.

So, she picked out yarn. I sent her a few pictures of possible patterns for the blanket and she picked the Lacy Crochet Baby Blanket.  A lovely pattern, and an easy repeat.  Just the right sort of project to work on at night, tired, on the sofa.

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First round

I ended up starting with a 168 crochet chain with a 4mm hook, though the pattern designer suggested using a smaller hook than called for – she suggested a 1mm hook, which I didn’t have.  Mom picked out a lovely Loops & Threads baby yarn – Snuggly Wuggly baby denim marl – with a very interesting mottled pattern.

The blanket worked up fast – in just about a week, give or take a few days.  As the lace pattern worked up, I kept seeing fish or arrow heads in the chains and clusters.  So fun!

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Blocking

Once I had the body of the blanket done, I blocked it.  As it was a gift, I wanted to be sure the blanket corners were as square as I could make them, before starting the border.  I was very happy I picked the gingham to cover the towels I put on the dining table for my makeshift blocking board.  Even though it was a thin pattern – 1/4 inch strips – it was still enough for me to block the blanket square.  The blanket before being blocked wasn’t too off kilter, but the blocking definitely helped.

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Crab Stitch border

The border was pretty quick, I chose to use a white to give it a defining finish.  I’ve never done a crab stitch or a single crochet between stitches, so that was fun.  Crab stitch is a bit awkward at first, but eventually it got a bit easier to crochet backwards.

The last two times I’ve done baby blankets, I’ve knit up a hat with the remaining yarn to gift with them, to make a set.  This time, I wanted to do something different.  My girls loved their little flat loveys, so I thought I’d make one.  A knit one.

Again, thanks to Ravelry, I found an easy knit pattern.  Easy is relative, I still needed to figure out a few things, but it wasn’t too far of a stretch.  Lutin is the name of the pattern, and the pdf was in French!  Um…  my French is good, but knitting?  I knew a few words, but not enough technical language to know what was going on.  Thankfully, someone else translated it!

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Half a Lovey

I worked it flat, as the pattern called, though if I do this again, I will at least do the head and hat in the round. (I now have DPN’s under my belt!).  This was the first time I put stitches on a holder and worked other parts of a project.  Interesting.  Also, I realize that I totally need to use my counter – I ended up miscounting the second side and the arms were a bit shorter.  Oops.  At least I was able to hide it once it was sewn up and knotted.

The biggest challenge, other than counting consistently, was to sew it up.  I hate sewing!  The pattern recommended a mattress stitch, which I had no idea how to do.  I found a few helpful sites on the net (thank goodness for the internet!).  I have to admit, seeing how the mattress stitch worked was very cool.  Not cool enough to get me to get this sewn together in less than 4 days.  But eventually, I did get it finished.

I did run out of yarn by the time I got to the legs on the second piece.  I just finished it up with white.  So, he has some white pants and a white hat.  No biggie.  

I think I will do at least one more, even though there is so much sewing.  I think he turned out pretty cute.

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Three out of four!

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C’est Fini!

 

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October 22, 2013 ~ Time Turner Shawl

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Lace

Before I started the girls hats and mittens (Yes!  There are mittens now!) I knit a lace shawl.  Yes.  A lace shawl.  With really thin yarn.  It had actually started as a crochet shawl, but though I loved the pattern, I wasn’t happy.  I frogged the crochet and swapped over to some knitting needles.  Thanks to Ravelry, I was able to find an easy enough lace pattern.  One that I was capable of doing.

A friend and I started the Time Turner Shawl at just about the same time.  That gave me confidence!  We’d be going through it together, I’d have someone to ask questions of, bemoan the tricky bits.  The beginning was easy enough. once I figured out how to pick up stitches down the side to start the triangle shape.

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Stitch markers and a pink lifeline

I restarted a few times, learned that I needed to use a lifeline and was also incapable of counting to six with any accuracy more than twice.  Stitch markers were a lifesaver.  Every 12 or so stitches, I’d put a new marker.  At the start of every 8 row pattern repeat, I’d place my lifeline.  I would still get lost in the pattern, so a friend suggested writing the piece of pattern I was doing onto an index card. Looking only at that.  This, with the lifeline and stitch markers got me through.

Mostly.

There are still mistakes.  I had to use that lifeline more times than I’d like to admit, but I did it!  All in all, a frustrating, fun, and learning experience.  I couldn’t work on it when I was tired.  Or distracted.  But that was ok, I worked on the Big Button Wrap when I couldn’t think enough to do the shawl.  Working on it start-stop like that, it took almost two months to finish.

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In progress

While doing this I added a few skills and tricks to my bag – slip, slip, knit (SSK) and make 1  (M1), stretchy cast-off.  A bit more of how stitches stack up and work together. I thought, since I was knitting right to left, that I needed to swap my decreases, so anytime I saw SSK or K2tog I would swap them. (I’ve since learned differently.  Go figure).

Anyway, it was great to finally finish this shawl.  But the work wasn’t quite done once it was off the needles.  I still needed to block it.  I pulled out the blocking wire kit, prepped the table while the shawl soaked in the sink.  Then I rolled it in a towel and pushed the water out.  You’re not supposed to let the work stretch out with the weight of the water, or twist it dry.

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On the wires

Getting the shawl onto the wires wasn’t difficult, but was a bit awkward.  Watching the lace open up as I pinned it out on the table was amazing.  And rewarding.  It felt really good to see my work go from nice to airy and beautiful.  I  was really proud of my work.  And maybe took a few too many pictures…

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Lace detail

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Edge detail

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Open lace

I gave this shawl to my god-mother. My aunt.  She couldn’t believe I had done it.  The last time I had seen her, I was only crocheting.  I got a phone call thanking me, and also a lovely card.  She took it with her on her trip to Paris.  I love that my work made her so happy.  That makes me happy, and makes all the effort worth it.

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