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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Still Decreasing

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I didn’t get much done yesterday.  It was dark and rainy and gray.  We need the rain, but for some reason yesterday just felt very “blah.”  I didn’t want to do much of anything and I didn’t get much knitting done either.  I will not get this finished in time for the talking raccoon movie tomorrow, but that’s OK.  I have other wraps.  I won’t freeze.

What I did do yesterday (other than some laundry, but this isn’t a laundry blog), is knit through 90% of the ninth ball of yarn and caught Sharknado 2.  I love SyFy Original Movies even though Mickael and Caleb really don’t.  Mickael did watch with me last night even though he hadn’t seen the original Sharknado (so he had no idea what was happening).  Caleb watched the original with me - and swore he was not watching the sequel - ever.  Personally, I’ll take one of the Sharknados over Sponge Bob Squarepants any day.  BTW, have you ever noticed that you can just about find Sponge Bob on TV 24 hours a day?

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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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Thursday, July 17, 2014

All Finished!

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I’ve finished my Camp Loopy Project 2!  It needs a blocking and I need to add the clasp, but the knitting is finished and the ends are woven in.  I ended up doing the sleeves like the pattern called for after all.  This was a fun and fast project and I enjoyed working with this yarn (Malabrigo Rios).  I’ll give this one more post when it’s all blocked so you can see it looking less rumpled and lumpy.

On a different topic, I never know when Mickael is paying attention or not, but apparently he did notice my tank top muslin.  He seemed a little concerned as to why I made a tank top out of tractor fabric and exactly where I was going to be wearing it.  I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of that fabric - both for fitting purposes and for freaking out the husband.  Good times!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Made A Top!

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I whipped this up yesterday evening!  Isn’t it cute?  OK, it’s technically just a muslin to double check the fit of the Wiksten Tank before I make it in my nice fabric.  Yes, those are tractors in the snow you see there!  (Actually, they’re giant tractors in the snow - seriously, they’re almost as big as the house!)  I found this cotton at 50 cents a yard and knew it would work for testing things.
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So to double check the fit on the pattern, I cut out the XS tank and sewed up the shoulders and side seams.  I didn’t use French seams like I will on the final version, I just used the serger (and it took less than five minutes to do), then pressed it.  Finally, I trimmed down the seam allowances from the neckline and armholes so I could see where they would hit.  Once I tried it on, I was able to see what needed adjusting for my body.  I’ll be raising the front neck a bit (it scoops down closer to my bra than I’m comfortable with), and I’ll be making this adjustment to the back neck - it gaps out a bit.

I know making a tank top seems silly, but around here they’re useful practically year round.  At this time of year, they’re an obvious choice, but even when the temperatures drop, they’re great for layering under cardigans.  I like the A-line shape of this tank and I think it will look cute with skinny jeans.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Edgings

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I got the front/hood/hem band on!  Obviously, the whole thing could stand a good blocking, but that will wait until I’m completely finished.  I still haven’t decided on the sleeves.  The pattern has little short row, cap sleeves, and they’re cute, but I could also just work bands in the armholes and call it a day.  I had originally thought about making the sleeves a little longer (I’ve got yarn), but I’m liking that idea less and less.

Obviously, I’m a bit indecisive this morning.  Caffeine will probably help and then maybe I can get this finished (and blocked!)

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Monday, July 14, 2014

A Hood!

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I finished the hood of my Storyteller Hoodie!  I’m also past the required yardage for this second project.    It feels good to be this far along, this early in the month.  The provisional cast on will come out when I do the hem/front/hood band.  (Those white strings you see are from the provisional cast on.)

I got my Project 3 yarn in the mail Saturday, but I’ll wait to show you that until closer to the start date.  This year’s projects have all been pretty wide open as far as theme for each month’s challenge.  It’s made it very nice, both to pick a project and to find yarn for that project.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much work it is to organize this every year at Loopy Central, but they do a great job, and at least from this end, the whole thing comes off looking very organized.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Hood and A Cat

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I’ve gotten a lot more done on the hood of my Storyteller Hoodie for Camp Loopy.  I’ve only got a couple of inches left before I’ve finished the hood, so hopefully I will get it finished tonight.  I’m thinking that I will do the front band (that goes all the way up the front, around the hood, down the other front and around the hem) before I do the sleeves, so I know how much yarn I have left.  I’m thinking of making the sleeves a little bit longer than the pattern calls for, but that’s going to depend on my yarn.  Oh, and just to note, this picture is the most accurate color wise of any I’ve gotten so far.  I don’t usually have this much trouble photographing greens, but this one is giving the camera fits.

If you’re doing Camp Loopy, the Project 3 requirements are up now!
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Max was extra cooperative yesterday and I was able to get several pictures of him.  We used a balloon in science and Max found it at lunch.  There was much slapping of the balloon, but Max is really good about not using claws, so the balloon didn’t get popped.
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At the end of the day, he was pretty tired.  He was having trouble sitting upright while I was fixing dinner, and he just flopped down on a chair.  Birthdays are exhausting!

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Just Keep Knitting, Just Keep Knitting

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I’m still working on my Noro wrap, but I am making progress.  I’m almost finished knitting up the sixth ball of yarn (out of ten) and the last two balls will be used for the decreases to finish off the rectangle (which will make them seem to go really fast as the rows get shorter and shorter).

I really can’t wait to get this finished so I can wash it because everyone says Silk Garden gets really soft after washing.  Right now it’s kind of strange.  I realize that’s not the most descriptive word, but it’s really the best way I can sum it up right now.  It’s just kind of a strange yarn.  The color changes are interesting and I think most people come to Noro for the color, but I’m really curious to see how this yarn changes when I’m done knitting.

On a completely different note, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Logan had turned four (June 18).  Well, today Maximus is three.  He’s still pretty crazy, but with age has come great sleepiness, so the crazy is broken up by long naps - usually under the down comforter.  He’s an interesting, but fun little kitty.  I’ll see if I can get him to sit still for a photo later this week.  It’s hard to get pictures under the comforter.

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Monday, July 07, 2014

I Got Some Knitting Done This Weekend

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Actually, I got a lot of knitting done.  I ended up being sick this weekend and all I felt like doing was knitting.  So I did!  I got the entire body of my Storyteller Hoodie finished and the shoulders grafted together.  Then I wove in all the ends before I started the hood.  The thing at the top with the needles hanging out is the beginning of the hood.  I’ve alternated skeins all the way through it and I’m halfway through Skein 3 and have just begun Skein 4.  (Yes, I sat down and put them in order before I started knitting to try to avoid color issues.  This is how I deal with hand dyed yarns.)

Once I finish the hood, I’ll have the front bands and sleeves to do.  The sleeves are little, but depending on how much yarn I have, I might make them a little longer.  Or I might not do sleeves at all, but instead just work bands at the armholes and call it a day.  I haven’t decided yet.  Oooooh, this is getting suspenseful!  Here’s the Rav link to my project page.

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

This One’s For The Boys

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Actually, I’m making two of them so they each have their own, but you get the idea.

Mickael and Caleb both love video games.  They play on the Playstation (2,3, and 4), Caleb plays on his computer, they play on their iPods and iPads, they play by themselves, they play together, they play online.  All weekend long, the sounds of battle, whether swords or bombs fill the upstairs of our house.

When the Iron Helmet pattern came out I knew I had to make it for them.  They both love Skyrim (and I’ve even attempted it, but I have trouble working the controller) so I knew they’d love it.  There’s a lot of detail in the pattern so I decided to work them both at the same time, so they’d both be done at the same time.  (This should also mean that there are no issues as to who gets their hat first.)  I’m using Cascade 220 Superwash.  If you’re interested in details, here is the project page in Ravelry.

This is my high concentration project right now, so it’s probably going to take a little while, but that’s OK.  No one really needs a wool hat in Dallas in July.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Camp Loopy 2014, Project 2

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It’s July, so that means it’s time for Project 2!  I cast on yesterday (that white yarn you see peeking out of the rolled lower edge is a provisional cast on), and I’ve made it past the curved lower edge.  I’m now at the “knit evenly” section.  I’m going to join a second skein on the next row and alternate them.  I’ll alternate skeins through the rest of the project just to make sure there’s no color weirdness.  That’s the best thing to do with hand dyed yarns anyway.

This is the first time I’ve used Malabrigo Rios and I really like it.  I love the colors and (granted I’m only about halfway through my first skein) the way it’s knitting up.  Just in case you were wondering, yes, those are pink needles!  (Dyakcraft Darn Pretty Interchangeables, 5 inch length with lace tips in Positively Pink)  I’ve got all the project details (not the needle details) on my Rav project page if you’re interested.  I think the only change I’m making to the pattern is to skip the buttons (and button holes) and use the leather clasp instead.

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