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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I’ve Turned A Corner!

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See that tiny little corner there?  That’s the start of ball number nine!  I’ve started decreasing to the final corner.  Will I finish it in time for the movie Friday?  I honestly don’t know.  I’d really like to get it washed* before I wear it, which means I need to finish knitting it today.  I also have ends to weave in before I can wash it.  On the other hand, it’s raining out, so there’s no running today, so maybe I can just curl up and knit.  At this point, I’m just kind of excited to have turned the third corner.

*Noro Silk Garden Lite is one of the strangest yarn I’ve ever worked with.  For such high silk content, it’s pretty scratchy.  Part of that the is VM and straw (which I’ve picked out as much as possible), but the yarn in general is just crunchy and rustic.  On the other hand, once it’s washed (according to reviews on Ravelry), it’s supposed to soften up and become this wondrous and amazing thing.  I’m really, really curious about this.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two More Bags!

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These are the last two Sock Sacks I had all cut out.  They are the Medium size again.  (I really should make a small and a large just for fun at some point.)  There’s not a whole lot to say about these since this is the third time you’ve seen me make this pattern.
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I lined the island/map fabric one with tropical fish, but the striped one is just lined with more stripes.  (The flash made the zipper look really light - it coordinates with the blue green stripe in the fabric in real life.)
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That’s five of these bags now and while I enjoyed making them and I know they’re a great size and shape for knitting, I think I’ll make something else now.

If you’re still looking for the pattern, here it is!

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Progress!

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I have started the eighth ball of yarn on my Noro Silk Garden wrap!  This is the last ball of yarn where I’m working even for length.  Balls nine and ten will be for the final corner.  I’m very excited that the end is in sight, and that means I can write up the directions soon.  This won’t really be a pattern, but more of a recipe.  Once you understand how it works,  you can make these in any weight of yarn or any size.  It doesn’t even have to be a wrap, it could be a scarf or a blanket!

I might try to get it finished this week so I can wear it to Guardians of the Galaxy this Friday.  I think they should just call it The Talking Raccoon Movie.  I guess you can tell which character I’m excited about.  We love our Marvel movies around here!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Random Friday

Yesterday Caleb and I finished up our first year of homeschooling!  I can’t even begin to explain how much we both learned doing this.  While we’re relieved to be able to say that seventh grade is finished, I’m looking forward to starting eighth grade on September 2.  On the other hand, I’m also looking forward to some free time over the next few weeks, and so is Caleb!

I thought I’d answer some questions from the comments today.

The pattern I used for the bags I showed yesterday was the Sock Sack in Three Sizes.  It’s available through that link, on Craftsy.  It’s a downloadable pattern with really great directions and lots of photos.  Like Ravelry, once you buy a pattern at Craftsy, you can download the file again later, because it’s put into your library.  One note about the pattern I have is to cut the casing pieces the same length as the main bag fabric, along the top.  In the medium size, the cutting diagram was wrong for the casing piece, but the directions just under the diagram were correct.  The only changes I made were to add a wrist strap and I topstitched around the top edge just under the casing.
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Earlier this week I showed you the start of my Meditative Stash Buster Blanket.  I forgot to mention, I’m using a 2.75mm hook to make the squares, and I hadn’t gotten it on the project page either.  Now it’s also on the project page!  (Which also means, if I set the project aside at some point and come back to it later, I’ll be able to figure out what size hook I used.)  Ever since Ravelry came along, I’ve kept much better notes on projects, although just having the blog was helpful too.  I have never been very good at keeping a project journal even though I try to.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, those are three new squares I did last night.  I was going to work on another project, but I just didn’t have the brain power last night.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

I’ve Been Sewing!

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Last week I spent an afternoon cutting things out.  I don’t enjoy cutting very much, maybe because of the permanence and my tendency to do things upside down and backwards.  It worked out well though, just doing a bunch of cutting in one day and now I can just sew.
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One of the things I cut out, was four more of the Medium Sock Sacks.  I did this pattern once, and I love the size and the center zipped divider.  This time around I used fusible interfacing for a bit more stability, and I added a wrist strap.  I don’t often use a wrist strap around my wrist, while I’m knitting, but I do love them to hook around a finger as I’m carrying my stuff around.  I could use the drawstrings, but having a wrist strap just works better for me.
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I got two of the bags all finished yesterday.  These are both in my Sherlock fabric from Spoonflower and for lining I used a black and gray jacquard print from Hobby Lobby.  I was able to sew both of them with black thread, which is why I made them together.  (The other two bags, waiting to be sewn, need blue thread.)
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Here’s a shot of the wrist strap I added.  If you’d like a tutorial or directions, let me know in the comments.
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The inner divider is zipped, which makes it nice to hold the little accessories we need for knitting.  The medium size is actually large enough for a shawl and a pair of footie socks.  According to the pattern, the small size is meant for socks and the large size for a sweater.  The pattern designer is a knitter, so I don’t doubt that either of the other sizes will work just as well.
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You can see the little snap tabs just above the zipped divider - those are yarn guides!

This is a great pattern!  The kind of thing that looks like it would be really involved (at least to me), but once you start sewing it up, you realize it’s not that hard after all.  The finished project is also super functional, for a knitter at least!

I’m going to get the other two sewn up soon, so if you want details about the wrist strap, leave a comment!  Am I the only one who likes to coordinate my project bags with my project colors?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stash Busting

Sometimes I go up to my stash to find something and I end up forgetting what I went for, and just trying to sort and organize the stash.  The larger project quantities don’t bother me nearly as much as the little leftover balls of yarn from finished projects.  Those bits seem to reproduce like rabbits!

Over the weekend, I began a project that might help to use up some of those leftover bits.  I use fingering weight yarn for socks and shawls, and over time, I’ve collected quite a few little leftover bits of it.  It takes 100 grams (actually less, since that’s how I’ve gotten all these leftovers) for a pair of regular socks for me.  Mickael’s socks take about 150 grams or so.  Most fingering weight yarn is sold in 100 gram skeins (a few come in 50 gram skeins), so the new skeins are off the table for this project, which is fine - this is to use up the leftovers.  I’ve found that the footie socks take just under 50 grams of yarn, so anything between 50-75 grams is going into a pile for footie socks.  If it’s under 50 grams, its part of this project.
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What am I making?  A few weeks ago, I ran across a free crochet pattern for the Meditative Blanket.  It’s made of squares and it’s join as you go.  I learned in The Babette, that sewing a bunch of squares together takes me several years, so if I can join them as I go, I’ll be ahead of the game.  The original blanket made by the designer is in a subdued, soft color scheme.  I’m just using leftovers, so mine kind of looks like clown barf.  I’m hoping that the more colors I use, the better the colors will play together.  I know that tends to work out pretty well, and it will make a soft, lightweight blanket either way.  So I’m embracing my inner Molly Weasley and using up all of these leftovers.  I have no clue how big I’ll make it.  It’s all of nine squares right now.  I’ll just keep going until I think it’s big enough.  If I run out of leftovers, I’ll set aside until I can make more socks and get more leftovers.  Here’s my Ravelry page for the project if you’re curious about more details!

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Camp Loopy Project 2 All Finished!

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I’ve finished, blocked, and added the clasp to my Camp Loopy 2014 Project 2!  This was the Storyteller Hoodie Pattern that I worked exactly like the pattern called for, except I didn’t work buttonholes on the front band.  I used the Jul Venetian Hinge in black instead.  I’m thrilled with how this came out and I can’t wait for the temperature to drop this fall so I can wear it with jeans!
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Here’s a back view so you can see how the hood hangs.  Fun Fact:  a top or jacket with a hood draws the eye upwards to the hood and distracts from your butt.  I know a lot of people don’t want to knit hoods because they never wear them up.  I don’t ever wear them up either but they’re cute and they do that smoke and mirrors distraction thing so I love them.  See?  I bet you didn’t even notice Fifi’s butt!
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Since this was the first time I’ve used a clasp like this, I thought I’d show you how it works.  I will definitely be using this (and some of the other styles) again.  It comes in a bag, fully assembled but with no directions.  (It’s pretty self explanatory and I didn’t feel like it needed directions.)  The leather of the clasp is soft, with no rough edges, but it has enough body to hold its shape.  Above, you can see the front view.
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Here’s what it looks like from the backside.  The leather washers that are included are a thicker leather than what’s used in the clasp, but they are still finished nicely with no rough edges or corners that might snag yarn.  As you can see, the thing is attached with screws, so you’ll need a standard screwdriver to install it.  You can also see the backside of the screws in the center of this photo.
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In looking at the clasp, it seemed like the screw shafts were a bit long for my yarn and there would be a little bit of “play” between the clasp and the washers.  A wiggly clasp seemed like a recipe for pilling and needless wear and tear on my project, so I cut some additional washers from some wool felt I had.  I used off white because that’s what I had.  I just cut around the original leather washer and then cut an X in the center.  I cut two felt washers for each screw since I wanted to eliminate wiggle room.  You can see the felt washers, the leather washers and the screws with one half of the clasp in the picture above.
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I had tried on the vest before I started to decide where to place the clasp, and marked the top edge with safety pins.  This made it easy to place each half of the clasp and gently wiggle the screw shafts between the stitches.  You can see the back side of the vest above, with the screw shafts poked through from front to back.  It was very easy to shift the stitches around the shafts so there was no damage to the yarn.  Also the shafts are polished smooth on the outside, so there’s nothing that will catch the yarn.  The shafts will completely contain the screws themselves so the yarn can’t get snagged on the screws.  I think the design is very well thought out and the finishing of each of the pieces is well done.
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The next step is to place the two felt washers and the leather washer over the shaft and then close the whole thing with the screw.  The two felt washers took up all the remaining space so once everything was reassembled, there was no play or wiggliness.  (This is the most accurate photo color wise of the yarn, in case you’re curious.)

It was very easy to assemble the clasp and once it was all attached, it hangs nicely without pulling or drooping.  The screws might be a bit long (which is why I added the felt washers), but if they were shorter, I might worry about them unscrewing and coming out.  I’d rather have to add the washers and know that if the screws loosen, I’ll be able catch them and re-tighten them before they come all the way out. I wouldn’t use this type of clasp on any project lighter than DK weight because while the clasp isn’t particularly heavy, it does have some weight to it.  I also wouldn’t use it on anything knit at a really loose gauge for the same reason.  When I wash the vest, I’ll remove the clasp and reattach it when the vest is dried and blocked.  I will also be using more of these and the other designs on future projects.  I love the look of it on the finished project.

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