Monday, December 24, 2012

Alex's Mario Hat

It's been bitter cold the last couple of days... and my little boy's last hat is just a little too small for him. He's been wearing some old ear muffs of mine, but I couldn't bear to let him go Christmas shopping with his big brother this weekend with a girl's ear muffs nor without any hat. And I had that Mario hat finished early... and he's big on Christmas gifts, but not as big on hand-knit clothing for Christmas. I figured he'd appreciate it more if it wasn't under the tree.

He was pretty happy about it (although it is just-a-bit too big). He's wearing it with the little Mario front and center (because that's his favorite in the hat). He's also wearing it cuffed up so it fits just a bit better.

He got a ton of compliments on it when he was out with big brother. Then he and I did our shopping together and he got even more compliments. He wasn't paying any attention when the cashier at the grocery store complimented him. So I stepped in and said, I'll take the compliment since I'd made the hat. She got really excited and couldn't believe it and told the other cashiers and the men working the bagging to take a look at the amazing hat.

Alex has been on and off the knit-worthy list lately, so I'm thrilled he likes his hat. And it's always nice to get good compliments on something you've made. I tend not to get many compliments, but the Mario hat was definitely a big win.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Red Heart, with Love

So, my latest FO, a scarf that is a Christmas gift.... was made with Red Heart with Love yarn.  It was presented to me as an alternative to the yarn-that-is-not-to-be-named.

The other yarn runs around $3.65 for about 350 yards.
The Red Heart yarn is around $5.00 for about 370 yards.

The other yarn comes in almost a hundred colors.
The Red Heart yarn comes in about a dozen colors.

The other yarn is softer, and has a better all-over-evenness to the yarn that isn't BAD in Red Heart, but isn't quite as good quality-wise. If I ranked the first yarn as an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 in quality; this one is closer to a 7.

But, it is a good 'almost' alternative. And it would be better if they came out with more colors. When it boils down to all else? The limited color options is probably the biggest detriment to me.

I absolutely LOVE that it's made in the US and for the price difference, I'm ok with the barely higher price if it's going towards American workers.

Now, most Red Heart yarns soften with the wash. So, I'm hoping a trip through the washer and dryer will help take this scarf to the next level of softness.

All-in-all? I will use it again... but it probably will be when I need something I can go and pick up quickly (as opposed to ordering on-line or special ordering through an LYS) and when the color matters very little.

Last Christmas gift on my list

Over a month ago, I wanted to make something for my future daughter-in-law. I wanted to make a scarf or cowl... and I ran out of time during the cup term. But, with a favorite color of red, the next thing was to find a pattern. I wanted something somewhat traditional - and couldn't find a pattern that felt mindless enough, or quite just-right. So, I landed back to an oldie - the mock cable scarf. I found the stitch pattern AGES ago and have made a couple of scarves with it. I included the pattern I used for this particular scarf on my ravelry project notes here.

This scarf took 370 yards of Red Heart, with Love yarn. It's a little narrow, but nice and long. A good 5" wide by 70" long.

Here's a close up to the mock cable stitch pattern:

The reverse side looks a little like uneven ribbing.

There is no cabling involved, the 'slant' and the part that looks like it's crossed over? Is a stitch that gets slipped then passed over a couple of stitches. This ends up with a decrease, but on the next row, you add a stitch for each spot where you'd decreased. This results in the little 'dot' which is the yarn over above the slant that helps with the 'look of' a cable.  I found that I could do about 6" an hour, so that makes this a super-fast knit.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

FO - Mario Hat

This hat is a Christmas gift for my 9 yr old, DS-addicted son.  I started it last month, but didn't get to the duplicate stitching for it until this month.

Side 1:

Side 2:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snowmen on parade

So, the angel has been shown before.

As has the red-hatted snowman.

And the mochimochi snowman on the far right.

But this is the first time you've seen the other seven snowmen.

I made all of the white bodies, first - and started skipping a few rows and a few increases to get them just a hair smaller. It took about 30 minutes-ish each to make the bodies. I used the-yarn-that-is-not-to-be-named that had a little sparkle in it... and stuffed it with some wool fiber that I'm working at eliminating out of the house to try to remove some of the allergens in my home.

The hats were made in about 15 minutes each yesterday. The scarves were converted to Icords and took about 10 minutes each.

Then it took me a little under an hour to seam the bits together, tack down the scarves and add french knot eyes.

These turned out pretty cute, were fast and easy to make and I love them. I might had made more angels, but "a" didn't like it as well as the snowmen and since most of these are going to school to be gifts for his teachers, I figured he could dictate it. He's getting the mochimochi snowman for his ornament this year. That leaves an angel which will probably go to future daughter-in-law and three snowmen for myself, my eldest and my new grandson.

Woot! One more set of Christmas knitting OFF THE NEEDLES!

Which leaves  me with a hat and a scarf for Christmas knitting. I can deal with that and not feel overwhelmed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Next Years big projects - blankets and making them affordable

While I'm looking at my big projects for next year... I'm also looking at affordable yarn buying options AS WELL AS keeping an eye toward working with buying yarn from a dear friend who just opened up a new LYS in town.

She's been kind enough to offer to special order for me 'big' orders as well as offering a discount on big orders... and I'd love to do my shopping there all the time... but let's face it. Her wool collection has to be larger than her non-wool offerings for sale - that's just common sense. But she is trying to make sure she offers me options as well (which is VERY kind and considerate). So I do want to repay her kindness.

Generally speaking, if she's going to order yarn for me (in bulk) she'll have to get on average 10 skeins of yarn for each color ordered.

So, first out of the gate, one of the blankets I'm planning to make next year only needs 2 skeins of 5 colors and 7 skeins of a 6th color. If she already had in stock the colors I needed, I wouldn't feel bad asking her to order the sixth color in a larger batch for me. BUT she doesn't. I'm looking for rainbow-color-bright with black as the sixth color. I don't think it's fair for me to ask her to order five other colors if I'm only going to want 2 of the 10 skeins from each package as then she has to have someone else around who is going to want to make something in your face BRIGHT.

But, another project I'm thinking about making requires 15-18 skeins of the same color. THAT one I think I should order through her - she'll get to sell most of the order immediately and I wouldn't worry as much about the few skeins I wasn't using being sold as I will be picking a much more muted/in style tone of color.

But let's look at pricing (not including tax - simplify my math).

At the LYS - I can get about 250 yards/skein for $5.40 - but my LYS owner now hopes someone else wants to make a rainbow in your face BRIGHT blanket
At Knitpicks - I can get about 220 yards/skein for $3.00.
At the hobby shop - I can get about 350 yards/skein for $5.00.

For the 6-color blanket - I need about 400 yards for each of the first five colors and 1700 yards for the sixth color.

Knitpicks - 17 skeins - $51.00
Hobby Shop - $75.00 (2 less skeins for the sixth color)

In this scenario - Knitpicks is going to get my order because I can't get away with only one skein of the hobby shop yarn - I'd have to buy two to get 400 yards; which ends up costing me more in the end.

For the 1-color blanket - I need about 3600 yards.
At the LYS - if I order 16 skeins (to ensure enough yarn) $86.40
At Knitpicks - 18 skeins - $54.00
At hobby shop - $60.00

In this scenario - I'm still tempted to buy yarn at the LYS. Yes, I could save about $30 at knitpicks, but the LYS yarn is EVERY bit as nice, if not a bit nicer to work with AND I get to figure that a good portion of that difference is money that is staying in my local economy.

AND yes, I'm fully aware I can buy blankets cheaper at Walmart. This isn't about the end result blanket. It's about finding ways to invest in my hobby, make something beautiful and not go broke while doing it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First December FO's

The mochimochi snowman was super cute, but man - it was kind of a pain to work with. Very fiddly at least in the beginning.

I found a couple of free Ravelry patterns and these aren't as tiny, but are still seriously cute.

First my snowman:  Rav link - Snowman Ornament

He's about 3" tall and uses leftover scraps. I used a little of my initial homespun yarn (very poorly done) - which is a great use for it since I won't ever turn it into something I can use.

Next my angel: Rav link - Quick and Easy Ornament

Also right about 3" tall and using left over scraps along with a little gold crochet thread. Also using a little handspun wool for stuffing for the head.

Per "a" he likes the snowman best, so I plan on making about six of them for him to take to school and hand out to his teachers, aids, and the nurse. Then I will make five more for myself and my immediate members of my family. It's a family tradition that's 25 years old this year to make home-made ornaments and share them with loved ones.

I figure now that I have the pattern sorted and the idea, I'll probably work on them a bit assembly style. Hope to have the first six done before too long so he can get them distributed.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Planning


But I do have the following on the needles that will get picked up and worked on as the mood strikes!

  • OWL sweater - colorwork cardigan with about 10 hours remaining
  • Brown Sweater (started in October) - about 40 hours remaining
  • Mario Hat - duplicate stitching remaining - about 4 hours
  • Teddy Bear - 90% of him remaining - about 8 hours of work
So, I wouldn't mind finishing the last two of those. But the first two will get finished to the last end woven in and trimmed - so that I can turn them in for future WIPtheFirsts.

Christmas knitting that I haven't started yet and will probably do this month... though if I don't there won't be anyone applying any guilt (best and only type of Christmas knitting I will do).
  • Christmas ornaments for my family and Alex's teachers at school
  • Red scarf for my future daughter-in-law
Since it'll be the new year around the corner.... there is also one last WIP that hasn't gotten a mention all year.... the hibernating project, the dreaded alligator. About 20 hours of knitting remains on him. And it's down to the nit-picky little bits. Not much to do, but it's all down to somewhat fiddly and fussy. But he's been hibernating for about 18 months and I would like to finish him. If I can get him to within 99% of done, he can be an AWESOME WIPtheFirst in the future.

I will pick out a blanket project, order yarn and knit a swatch for the New Year at some point this month. 

November EOM Progress

ARRRGGG! Again, I didn't manage to finish my OWL.

The Hat Time Trial followed by the enui that followed it, cost me. I knew it was going to be close and the OWL was the only thing I worked on for the full last week of November (sadly this includes housework, so, um, yeah - now I get to clean house today - lol!).  By Friday at noon, all I had left was the button-less button band. Approx. 93" of 22 stitches of K2, P2 Ribbing. I did 3" during my 30 minutes of lunch, getting me to 38". Which left me with 57". At 3" in 30 minutes, or 6" in 1 hour.... that would be 9-ish hours of knitting left... plus seaming and weaving in the final ends - so approx. 10 hours. I was only going to have 8 hours left before HPKCHC end of term.


But, if I wasn't going to finish, I wasn't going to stay up all night trying to finish.

So, instead... I tried to tackle some of my other class ideas.

1 mochimochi snowman

This took a LOT longer than I anticipated and I had a lot of trouble with it. I didn't have any fingering weight white yarn to use - so I used sport, but same size needles recommended (even though I'm a loose knitter -with the idea larger yarn would compensate).  It's certainly cute. And my son claimed it 2 seconds after I finished it. But I will most certainly NOT be making more like this. I might end up trying to see how big they end up with worsted weight yarn on size 3... but if it's as fiddly to start as this is? I probably will come up with a different ornament to make for my son's teachers at school.

Previously posted:
41 hats
2 cowls


My so-close OWL
This is a shot of the body being blocked pre ends woven....

Here's a close up on the colorwork, for a night shot, it's actually somewhat true to the color.

The Mario Hat (hat is finished, just none of the duplicate stitching yet):

And lastly, one little leg (all alone) of a teddy bear:

I also had my TKGA Master Knitter Level 1 hat to start... but it was 10:30 pm, I was tired... and that is NOT the time to try to start a master knitter project.

I may sigh and whine about what I didn't finish. But, honestly? I got a TON done this month. I just need to remember that being a single mom working two jobs? No matter how cupper-crazy I may be, I have boundaries and it's ok. Because... lookie what I did get done!  Seriously? I have a lot to be proud of, you know?

So, my plan for December is to rest and recharge! There will be knitting. And there will be FO's posted. But they will be whatever they will be based on motivation and moments. And no official plan.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Reviewing my 2012 goals for the year

Here were my original goals:

  • 12 sweaters/tops - for me - in 2012
  • 40 hats for homeless charity
  • two baby blankets for Project Linus by April 1st
  • whatever else comes my way through Dumbledore's Yarny

So, how did I do? 

  • I finished EXACTLY 12 sweaters / tops for me.

I started 2 that I didn't get finished, one is SOOOO close (the colorful cardigan that was my OWL this term). But I just realized it needs 10 hours of work. I have 8 hours between work ending and the end of term at 2:00 AM CST tonight.

I will probably get it down to the last end to weave in (and probably wear it that way - lol) and weave in the final end for WIPFirst in January.

The second one is the brown one I got about 33% done in October. I'll probably pick it back up after my Christmas knitting is finished and it can be a WIPFirst in February.

I also knit a dog sweater and a kid sweater... so all-in-all, not too shabby.

  • I finished EXACTLY 90 hats for Homeless/charity knitting
Woot! I figured that with the extra effort to do more sweaters I wouldn't have time for lots of hats (my goal last year was 100, and I knit 101 because I'm not good at counting, apparently).

Technically, I would have stopped at 40 if it weren't for the mega-Quidditch point options this term... and technically, if I had stopped at fewer hats, I probably would have finished my OWL sweater. so, yikes. But, in the end, there were a TON more points form the hats than the 13th sweater - even if it was an OWL.

  • two baby blankets for Project Linus by April 1st

I actually finished four baby blankets. Sadly, the only Project Linus drop-off place in the area was no longer affiliated with that project. But they still went to a good charity and they are still now available for keeping babies warm.

  • whatever else comes my way through Dumbledore's Yarny

They never put any more challenges out for this... so technically, I got all of the challenges met (lol).

But that said, ten of my charity hats were for Click for babies. There were two Animal Rescue cat blankets taken to a shelter. There were three scarves and three cowls made for a winter clothing drive for the homeless.

So, while I might not have been able to stick to the letter of the goal, I sure did stick with the meaning behind it.

I will probably do a couple more charity projects for Christmas presents, but there won't be much more added to my achievements for 2012. And I'm ok with that. I've felt a bit mojo-less post-Hat Trials earlier this month and I'm going to try to take it pretty easy on the knitting front starting tomorrow. (Tonight, I'm hoping to squeeze out one more small project and a couple of partials for some last minute points.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cleaning out stash

My wool allergies have gotten a LOT worse.

So, about a year ago I got rid of a ton of lower-quality 100% wool balls by shipping off a box to a random number drawing from asking folks if they wanted it within the Gryffindor house. Some of it got used for an OWL - how awesome is that?

But some of the nicer, expensive yarns I didn't feel comfortable gifting quite the same way. And I had thought about donating them as prizes in Gryffindor... but wasn't sure about that. So, instead, I listed them on Ravelry in Stash to be traded/sold.  They've been sitting there for a good year. It's not like there's a lot of yarn there... just one or two balls of different quality/type/etc. Some of them I did use to trade for the last Cleaning Wars prizes; and a couple of more are slated to go in teh next Cleaning Wars prizes sometime next month.

But what surprised me is that I've actually sold two of them, like within a week of each other.

It's not a lot of money - just $8. But hey. It's $8. AND I get to get rid of more wool from my house. How cool is that?!

My goal for next year is to eliminate all wool from the house as lately? Literally picking up the skein and moving it to another place with wool? Makes me break out in hives. It's got to be eliminated. So, I figure in January I'll decide what's decent enough to contribute as a prize. What's not will probably get thrown into a 'grab bag'... and I'll probably pick someone from my pride to send it as a random act of kindness.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Yarn Shopping

Quite a few online stores are having cyber Monday sales today. Quite a lot of them are offering 25% off or 30% off or even 40% off.

But so far? The deal that I couldn't resist?

Select yarn and tools are 50% off. And their prices are usually very reasonable to start with.

I had at one point two sweaters-worth quantity of yarn in my shopping cart. But only one of the yarns was at 50% off. So, I ended up deciding to move the non-sale priced yarn into my wish list instead.

So what did I get? I got enough sport-weight baby alpaca in a Heathered Indigo to make a sweater. Easily $150 worth of yarn (bought elsewhere); worth $100 at Knitpicks not on sale;  for $49.50.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

FO's - Julee's cowl

A co-worker had bought one of the charity hats originally intended for the homeless shelter... she plucked it right out of the donation box. I tried convincing her otherwise, but she insisted. I agreed for the sole reason that I could take the money to buy mittens/gloves for children for the donation box with the proceeds.

BUT THEN she proceeded to declare that she needed a matching cowl. sigh. I hate making things on 'command'. And it's for charity... which means more gloves and mittens... which should be a good thing. But, it didn't help much.

This should have taken only about two to three hours to make, max. It took about ten. It got frogged at least four times. But I finally finished it yesterday.

It doesn't help that it's made with Wool Ease Thick and Quick... which is a wool blend. Which I'm now pretty allergic to. I'd been able to work with it before; but after the Hat Time Trials a couple of weeks ago... not so much any more. Now, it's triggering my allergies to even pick up wool, let alone knit with it. (but it had to match - she said - sigh).

This cowl was knit with me taking my benedryl each time I picked it up to work on it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

November - mid-month Progress post

Ugh. Definite lack of mojo going on around here. This past week has been disappointing.

But here goes.

I posted last week that I exceeded my goal of 30 charity hats and managed 40 instead.

My OWL?  I'm onto the sleeves!  I still have a ton of work to do and not nearly enough time.


Ancient Runes - Changed my mind to do an infinity COWL with my corn yarn.

A new project I cast on for History of Magic - in honor of the booby... A bulky weight cowl for a co-worker who bought a charity-intended hat and wanted a matching cowl. I used the proceeds of the sale for mittens and gloves for the clothing drive.  And of course, because it has to match - it's in a wool-blend which means I can only work on it for a little while at a time. AND of course, because it's a paid order - it's not going well and I've had to frog it multiple times - and need to frog it again... sigh.

Not started yet:

Muggle Studies - assignment is to craft something inspired by games - a Mario hat for my 9 yr old son.

Headmistress Challenge - create swatches on the knook.

Charms - craft something to reflect a favorite season - a handful of mochimochi snowmen

Potions - that stubborn old TKGA Master Knitters hat that I keep procrastinating working on.

Flying - craft something inspired by a flyer - teddy bear....

Yeah. sad, I know. I knew that I'd have trouble making everything I wanted this month... but I didn't expect so much trouble with knitting mojo after that hat time trials.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

FO's - and then some

Quidditch Hat Time Trials was a seven day challenge to make as many hats as you possibly can.

So I did nothing else except make hats for a solid seven days.

Saturday - I used Wool Ease Thick & Quick and started making child-sized versions of my basic Brioche watch cap.

But, I actually reached a point where I needed to take a little break from the pattern. I've rarely been tired of working brioche... after 100 hats last year and 40 hats earlier this year in this pattern - I still think that if I haven't gotten tired of it yet, I'm unlikely to. But, I did need a break and wanted to do some crochet.

So, Sunday - I started with a simple crochet hat pattern - still using the Wool Ease Thick & Quick. I adapted it for a child's size... but it was more involved than I wanted ... I was in the mood for fast and quick.

So, I switched to another pattern and whipped out a baker's dozen ... most of these were intended to be child-sized... but I was regularly distracted and ended up with several larger hats - perfect for an adult.

And then, my wrists got sore. So, it was time to switch back to knitting. Back to the brioche stitch. Sadly, apparently two dozen hats in wool ease in less than 48 hours was enough to kick off my allergies... lol.

So, between Monday and Thursday - I managed another handful of hats.... the remainder of these hats were knit with various worsted weight acrylics - held double.

Friday, I decided to kick it up a notch and did my best to exceed my own expectations... and landed with seven more.

Final tally - 40 hats. All of these hats are going to charity. My son took the first 33 to school with him on Friday for a school winter clothing drive... the last seven and the 40 I did earlier this year along with a few scarves and cowls are heading to a winter clothing drive at work.  Definitely fun and a stretch for me. A little nuts, but what good is being totally sane?

That said - nuts is relative. I'm not sure what the maximum number of hats knit for this competition was - but the biggest number I saw was 100... and I'm certain there were other, equally nuts numbers. 100 hats in 7 days? Yep. Nuts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weasley's Sisters Podcast

I was honored this week to be a guest on a podcast focused on the knitting competition I partcipate in... the HPKCHC on Ravelry.

My Ravelry ID is PennyIA which is how they know me....ergo, how I'm introduced.

Weasley's Sisters Podcast - Episode 51

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Planning

DETENTION - November 1st

I started a hat for the class I teach on making these hats on Oct 25th (first night of class).  And finished on the evening of Nov 1st (last night of class).

Yes, I know - it looks just like a few others I have made. This is actually the 50th charity hat I have made this year (and I'm not even close to being done yet).

Defense Against the Dark Arts - Create something from your own design.

Yet another hat - same style, new color. Hope to start and finish tonight.

Then, I'm going to work on my OWL for the rest of the evening (Velvet Morning)... here's where she was when we left off a little over a week ago.

Sadly the colors are a little washed out in this photo. It's so hard to take a decent indoor shot and honestly? The weather hasn't been that great to try an outdoor shot.

But then ..... starting tomorrow.....

I'm going to dive DEEP into the Quidditch Hat Time Trials.

My goal?

Are you sitting down?

30 Adult Hats for Charity in 8 days. I have from the 3rd of November to the 10th of November. I'd like to do the bulk of them this weekend. And I probably won't work on anything else all week.

Then, the next focus will be working on the OWL. I have to finish it by Nov 30th... and there's 40% of a sweater to work I will be busy!

I have NO idea if I will find time to do anything else... but if I need something to carry around and/or need a break, I will be working on the following:

Muggle Studies - assignment is to craft something inspired by games - a Mario hat for my 9 yr old son. It's crafted in two colors - then all the decoration is done with duplicate stitch afterwards, so it should be pretty portable until you are adding the colorwork.

Ancient Runes - craft with fiber containing a minimum of 50% cellulose-based fiber. I have some lovely corn yarn that has been itching to become something. I'm going to make a scarf for my daughter-in-law.

Headmistress Challenge - create swatches - I've been wanting to learn how to knook. And I can create ten sampler swatches that in the future could be seamed and turned in for detention as a scarf.

Charms - craft something to reflect a favorite season - I'm going to make a handful of mochimochi snowmen as Christmas Ornaments for my son's teachers for gifts.

Potions - that stubborn old TKGA Master Knitters hat that I keep procrastinating working on. It takes three colors (but doesn't specify which three colors) and the prompt is to craft something with a complementary color scheme.

Flying - craft something inspired by a flyer - I'm picturing a little girl in pigtails with her birthday balloons tied to the lawnchair getting carried away, but clutching a teddy bear. So now I can make a teddy bear that has been on my list for quite a while.

Yes, I know there's no way I'm getting through this list during the month of November.

There are a few items on this list that I need for gifts that can wait until December.... and there are a few items on this list that do not HAVE to get made at all, but that I'm eager to try to get to.

Basically, I'm going to be happy if I get through the Charity hats and the OWL. The rest of it? Just icing on the cake. And I'm pretty sure I can get through the pile of hats and the OWL as long as I make them the priority.

Half-finished sweater

Here's the latest shot of the not-yet-finished sweater.

I used a varigated or 'ombre' shade of the yarn to not be named for the yoke and a nice brown from KnitPicks Brava Worsted line for the body. 

I did end up extending the 'color' further down the body after separating off the sleeve stitches because I wasn't very happy where the line would have fallen. BUT then I chickened out and stopped when I finished the skein and didn't join a second skein in the ombre.

I'm hoping it'll still look fine in the end.

October - end of month wrap-up

Finished my Ambiette for Detetion - DONE

Quidditch food fight - Small steak for son - DONE
OWL - Velvet Morning - 50% done

Dye yarn for the gradient yarn for Fingering Weight sweater - Chromatic

(pre-October Planning) - Oct 6th -- turn this into Charms to get my yarn to blend in with my current rainbow colored stash

Herbology - Quick Hat #1 - DONE
Start (and hopefully get half-way through) said Fingering Weight Sweater (whole month) - For my mission of blending in with Muggles in the Order Mission

Start and finish - Avril in April (rav link) (whole month) -- still don't know what class this would fit into

Quidditch Endurance Challenge Ten baby- or preemie-sized hats for the Period of Purple Crying project - DONE
TKGA Submission Hat - Oct 13th -- still don't know what class this would fit into

Muggle Studies - Baby ball -- DONE
History of Magic -  Snowman stocking - DONE

Not previously planned, but what ended up happening instead:

 - Suede bracelet - turned in for Defense Against the Dark Arts (claimed it was a type of parasite that was trying to get into someplace dark and steamy like my child, but that we captured it).

 - Test Knit Hat - turned in for Potions as it was a nice gray with interesting texture and represented the smoke that comes from Skelegrow.

 - Finger Puppet converted a pattern to make an Ood from Dr Who. I turned this in for Ancient Runes as it bore a remarkable resemblance to the rune for 7.

Started but not finished:

 - Adult Yoke sweater

I just couldn't convince myself to work on the third sweater. I never did cast on. I went back and forth on picking a different pattern. I just didn't seem to be able to commit by casting on.   As it was, I only got about half-way through the adult sweater I finally cast-on in Worsted weight yarn.   Over all, I'm still quite pleased with my progress even if I didn't get started on my third sweater.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A few more little FO's

I finished the custom-ordered Christmas Stocking:

Tons of fun to make. I had a lot of seaming and embroidery to finish it.  The pattern has you knit all of it in as intarsia - and I do make the hat and the snowman like that. But I like adding the others as duplicate stitch, embroidery or actual physical items sewn in - I like the 3-D effect from all of that. 

Last time I made this, I thought I would do all of the colorwork as sewn-on... but this is going to the same family that got the last stocking in this design... and I figured it would be better if they match.

I also completed a braided ball. Very cute, very fun, very easy.... well, except for the braiding part. I think I still messed up a little on one side, but it's close. And it really was a 'huh, can I figure it out - kind of project'. I might let the little guy or my dog take this one and pick different color options for the next one.

While I get the premise that you knit in stockinette (and it curls under) and that part of that helps build the bulk of the ball - it still seems kind of wasteful to knit 18 stitches and only have 7 stitches visible because the rest is all curled under. But I did love that after I finished seaming that I just tuck the ends in under the curled edges and pretend like they don't exist instead of weaving them in. I'd rather do that any day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two FO's

I finished the test knit ... it's a great hat, though it did turn out a little big for me. Since it's for charity, it's perfectly ok to be a little big as they need lots of sizes.

And then, I ended up joining an Ood-a-long. I know, I'm a lemming. I was NOT going to participate. I wasn't, I wasn't. I had plenty of things I wanted to make and didn't need an Ood... no matter how much I love Dr Who. But then I got to thinking how awesome it would be to have an Ood finger puppet. And a Dalek finger puppet. And a Doctor (10) puppet... and a Doctor Donna puppet. And they could all be in a Tardis case that's bigger on the inside (hence having room for all the finger puppets).

And next thing you know.... I made an Ood.

Yep, I'm a lemming. But it's cute. And even though the two little boys in my life have NO CLUE what an Ood is... and are quite disturbed when they find out they're holding a brain in their hands.... it's a-ok. Because I have an Ood Finger puppet. And that is awesome.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October - mid-month progress... with a few FO's

For quidditch, we were challenged to produce no less than 5, and no more than 10 items of the same object. I chose to make baby hats for Click For Babies campaign

These vary from preemie to newborn sizes - I started out knitting, but those were the tiniest. I figured I'd switch to crochet to get a little bigger sizes and hopefully less time to complete.

Next I wanted to play a little with some suede cord I had purchased ages ago. I'd seen some leather bracelets at the mall and wanted to try to make one for my eldest son. The pale beige wasn't dark enough for his taste, so I thought I'd keep it. But about five minutes post-completion, my youngest son decided it needed to become his.

This was a simple I-cord made with Berroco Suede. Simple, quick, and cute. I ended up turning this in for DADA - thanks to common room advice that it could be a parasite (lives inside bodies) that I've stunned.

I've made some progress on my Velvet Morning cardigan. I'm about two rows shy of completing the first pass of flowers in the chart. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this yarn. I love the pattern. I am confused by the chart as there's a red line indicating (I thought it did, anyway) a section of the pattern to repeat across and then there's a section past the red line that one would think would be how you finish out the end of the row. Apparently, it doesn't mean that. So, I basically have half a flower on one side. It's not the end of the world.

I did have to frog a few rows, as my first pass at the colorwork still showed a little puckering from the strands across the back being too tight. I went up to a size 6 needle for the colorwork and added in a little bit more due diligence to get the colorwork very loose... and it seems to be working out better. This isn't due to be completed until November, so about eight more rows to go next week, and then I'll probably set it aside for a week to get my homework finished.

Last, I threw out all my other plans for sweaters (for now) and have cast on the following sweater. It's a yoke-style raglan top knit in the round from the top down. I am using dark brown for the crew neck collar, then a self-striping  browns/blues/beige yarn for the yoke. When I divide the sleeves from the body, I'll switch back to the dark brown again for the rest of the body, sleeves, etc.  The brown is my first use of Knit Picks Brava Worsted yarn. The self-striping is the yarn-that-won't-get-named. It would be far too overpowering if I did a full sweater in it, but I'm thinking a colorful yoke with a dark brown body will be a good balance of color.

Simple, straight-forward, and great for when I need a break from focusing too much on Velvet Morning. Not sure exactly which class I will turn this in for, but I'm leaning toward Flying - and finding a heavily forested country/destination as inspiration.

I am rethinking (again and again) the third sweater I had hoped to start by now.  I'm looking at maybe making Jaden with sport weight Brava... so much knitting to do, so little time.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Knitting - for fun

I needed to make a little something last year in red and gold and had found a cute little amigorumi lion.... and I gave it to my son. Who promptly asked me to make him a little house. I thought it was silly and was NOT going to do it. Until I got tempted to participate in a gnome-home-along and thought, what they hey, why not?

And then he asked for more... so I came up with this story line (and it's probably not done yet... as there are other things he's asked for. I'm just waiting for the right moment, and then I'll add to this.

If you give a little boy a toy…..

a cute little amigurumi little lion…

he will hug it and play with it and name it Lionel….

but before too long, he’ll come around…

Lionel Lion needs a house, mom!

Lions in the wild don’t have houses, why does this lion need a little house?

Lions in the wild sometimes find caves, mom.

You could make him a cave, with an opening just right-sized for him, couldn’t you?

But why does Lion need a house?

Because sometimes he gets cold. And sometimes he gets scared. And he could hide in the cave from our dog who wants to chew on him.

// Very sound reasoning, don’t you think?

If you give a boy a house for a lion….

He will hug you and run and get the lion and show Lionel Lion his new home.

And then he will come back to you and inform you….very earnestly:

But, MOM! He needs dinner!!!


BECAUSE EVERYONE needs food, including little lions.

But he’s a stuffed animal, does he really need food?

Yes, MOM! EVERONE needs food… you don’t want him to staaaarve, do you?

So, here you go, little lion… a nice, raw T-Bone steak dinner just for you. Enjoy!!

October knitting - Ambiente

Now that I'm tracking my knitting on my blog more (and have actually posted more than once a year, lol)... I'm kind of thinking I'm going to try to post each Finished Object (FO) as it gets finished instead of waiting for mid-month or end-of-month progress reports. I might still write a progress post at each of those points, but perhaps those will just be a text summary that helps me track my plans against my results.

Besides, when I read knitting blogs, it's mostly to see FO's (and maybe a little to see how crazy they are getting with what they are making).

I'll label each of these posts with FO and wham-bam folks should be able to quickly see things I'm making (if they are so inclined).

First up, Ambiente (rav) - Sweater #12 of 12 for the year (with at least three more planned because who stops knitting sweaters during the Year of the Sweater in October?).

I had hoped to finish her up on the 30th... but there was about 2 more hours of knitting and an hour of weaving in ends when I crashed on the 30th. Instead I finished her up on the First. I LOVE, LOVE, the fit on this terrific top. These pictures don't do her justice. I'm hoping to take some pictures with it on as it's a very flattering look for me.

Just enough shaping for the hips, just enough stretch for the girls without it looking stretched.

She's made with Spa which is Acrylic and Bamboo. It's got a great drape on size 5 needles, incredibly soft yarn. It's shown post-steaming which is my blocking method of choice for acrylic or bamboo yarns. There's no garter stitching, so there is a bit of a roll at the waist and sleeves, but intentional rolling at the neck to match.  The yarn was quite splitty, so I probably won't select it again for that primary reason. I was using my Addi Clicks to make this and just think it's the best thing I've made lately.

Issue is that the temperatures dropped a good 20 degrees today and short-sleeved sweaters? In bamboo? Not warm enough to wear these days. She'll get put away until spring.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cotton yarn

This is supposed to be fingering weight yarn. I suppose it is. But looking at it and thinking about making a sweater for myself out of it? I am feeling a bit intimidated. I am only going to have about six weeks to make the sweater... and I am starting to doubt that I can do it in just six weeks.

October Planning

  • Finish my Ambiette for Detention - WIP the First, I hope; but the second will work if I can't quite get it finished.
  • Small crochet item for fun for my Son - Oct 2nd - Food related item for Quidditch
  • Get part-way through the colorwork section of the current project:  OWL - Velvet Morning (whole month)
  • Dye yarn for the gradient yarn for Fingering Weight sweater - Chromatic
    (pre-October Planning) - Oct 6th -- turn this into Charms to get my yarn to blend in with my current rainbow colored stash
  • Quick Hat #1 - Oct 6th -- turn this into Herbology for the "go-to" pattern that brings comfort
  • Start (and hopefully get half-way through) said Fingering Weight Sweater (whole month) - For my mission of blending in with Muggles in the Order Mission
  • Start and finish - Avril in April (rav link) (whole month) -- still don't know what class this would fit into
  • Ten baby- or preemie-sized hats for the Period of Purple Crying project - Oct 10-26 Quidditch
  • TKGA Submission Hat - Oct 13th -- still don't know what class this would fit into
  • Baby ball -- Muggle Studies, I'm sure my dog will help me sell that this could also be used as a dog toy
  • Christmas Stocking for Charity Auction - Pattern selected by winner (whole month) - Snowman stocking

So, one full adult sweater, a third of another adult sweater, plus half of a third adult sweater (in fingering weight, no less).

Plus 2 Adult hats.

Plus 10 baby hats.

Plus a couple of other small and not-so-small items?

Another busy month for me.

Plan on using stash for all but the Chromatic sweater. That yarn has been shipped, but not yet received. I am actually working from home today as it is supposed to be attempt number 2 at delivery.

September End-of-Month Progress Post

Finished items:

 - Washcloth (picture in mid-month progress post)
 - Tardis Kindle Case  (picture in mid-month progress post)
 - Brioche Hat  (picture in mid-month progress post)
 - Rose bookmark  (picture in mid-month progress post)
 - 12" blanket square

  - a's Sweater (a test knit out of the Yarn-that-must-not-be-named)

On the needles:

Two sweaters - the first I had hoped to finish for September (and it's OOOOH, so close, but did not get finished in time).

Ambiette in Caron Spa:

I'm hoping to squeeze in the last ten rows of sleeve two today and the two rows in the neckline, and the weaving in of ends... and get it turned in for WIP the First for October.

And my OWL project - Velvet Morning converted to top-down contiguous sleeves:

Monday, September 24, 2012

FO - a's Sweater

Amazing how fast boys grown once they hit a certain age.

This was made in that yarn that I won't be buying any more of.

It was a test knit and knit at a far tighter gauge than I'm used to working in. Figure it'll never wear out as tightly as it was knit.  This is a size 8 for boys... but honestly? The sleeves before joining to work in the round had to be 15" - so it's not much smaller than an Adult female sweaters I make for myself. Add the extra tight gauge and it easily had almost as many stitches as an adult sweater.

I'm probably going to be a little more cautious before signing up for more test knitting. Maybe ask some questions... it was good to try test knitting, and I wouldn't mind trying it again - but this sweater is almost stiff it's so tightly knit. Yet, in order to properly test, you knit to the gauge specified.

But, then again, it should be really warm, right?  So, all good in the end.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pre-planning for October

I've been wanting to make a sweater similar to the Chromatic Sweater by KnitPicks.

Problem is that I'm allergic to wool, so I need to find a cotton or acrylic alternative.

Second problem is that I need to watch my budget and can't afford to spend a fortune on the yarn.

Third problem is that finding yarn dyed on a gradient, in non-wool, is not something that is easily found, let alone affordable.

I've decided to try to buy plain yarn and dye it myself.

Second issue is finding 100% cotton yarn in Fingering weight without spending a fortune for it. I needed about 400-ish yards dyed in a gradient and over 1000 yards dyed in a dark contrast base color at the same weight.

I found several options that would cost over $120 for the sweater, and still required me going through the dyeing process. That's more than I want to spend on yarn I can dye (and mess up). I couldn't find any gradient dyed yarn options at all, not even out of my price-range yarn. The exception was Wolle's Yarn - which I have used before. This is "ok" and definitely gives gradient, gradual color changes. However, it is basically 8 strings strung together (not plied nor spun together) and the color changes are implemented by knots placed periodically to change one string color at a time. I don't like the knots and the strings are difficult to work with. I wanted something else for this sweater.

I was online complaining about my budget issues and someone pointed me towards 'carpet warp'. I found 800 yard cones of 100% cotton in fingering weight (8/4 carpet warp) for under $8 a cone. I bought one cone in white for dyeing and 2 cones in a vibrant medium blue for the main color. Under $30 for the sweater and I should end up with almost 1000 yards left over which would be enough for a second sweater. I have no idea how 'soft' this cotton will be (or won't be) but it's cotton. If it's not soft from the cone, it probably will be fine with washing.

Next step is to buy the dye and another dyeing bowl (I only have three right now for dyeing). Cotton dyeing requires an acid dye which is NOT foodsafe. My bowls I use for dyeing are set aside and not used for cooking. I buy inexpensive pitchers from Dollar General for $1 each. I figure if it doesn't work out and I don't want to store them any longer - they are simple enough to toss out.  I do most of the pre-dyeing soaking in vinegar (which is obviously food safe) in a wash tub that I also use for cleaning.

I have FOUR main colors I want to dye out of the 400 yards I plan on dyeing - Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue.

Divide the yarn into the following sections should give me the gradient look I need for the sweater:

A) 70 yards which will be the darkest of the red - dyed in the red pot
B) 40 yards which will be the next lighter shade - which will spend half the dyeing time in an orange pot, and before the time is up get moved to the red pot to get a blended color.
C) 70 yards in the orange pot, that will stay in the orange pot for the whole dyeing period
D) 40 yards which will be the next lighter shade - which will spend half the dyeing time in a yellow pot, and before the time is up, get moved to the orange pot to get a blended color
E) 70 yards which will be the lightest shade - and in the yellow pot for the entire dyeing period
F) 40 yards which will start in the yellow pot and get moved halfway through the dyeing process to the light blue pot for a greenish (I hope) gradient between the yellow and blue
G) 70 yards which will stay in the light blue pot the entire dyeing time

70 + 40 + 70 + 40 + 70 + 40 + 70 = 400 yards. I'll probably add a few extra yards as I spool the yarn into each of those sections so I end up with more than 400 yards (because more is better than less when it comes to one-time custom dyed yarn. I don't want to run out.

I'll post pics when I have the dyeing day which will probably be the first weekend in October if things go as planned.  With any luck, I'll be able to pick up the dyes and vinegar for under $20 which combined with the cost of the yarn and shipping is still under 50% of the cost of custom-dyed yarn (if I could even find it).

Monday, September 17, 2012

September mid-month Progress Post

Finished Items:

First up - the planned washcloth (intended for a future exchange).

This was an unusual pattern (Rav link) that I really fell in love with while knitting. I didn't understand what it was supposed to do and it didn't make any sense to me. It's intended for two color - but since I couldn't 'get it' from reading the pattern - I ended up using a single color. I followed the pattern exactly and once I got to a certain point it finally clicked. I will be making more of these, though the next ones will probably have a solid color for the 'front' and a variegated color for the 'back'. There's a lot of density in this and it'll make a great washcloth. I'm thinking I'd love to make a blanket covered in these squares some day.

Second up - the planned hat (one of the two - probably won't have time for the second one):

Basic Brioche in-the-round; like so many other of my charity hats. I'm having the pattern tested now and will probably release this pattern in a month or two.

Third item? - I won a door prize on September 7th, for a Kindle Fire (which is cooler than cool even if it wasn't HD - which got released on the 7th - lol - nothing like technology getting updated faster than you can buy it).  Fast-track inspiration; and it got a case by the 9th. This was orginally going to be made into a pencil case, but you can see - it works far better as a Kindle case.

Fourth item? Again, another inspiration-struck-had-to-have.... a simple Rose bookmark:

On the needles:

First sweater started this month - set aside for a short bit so I could catch up on a couple of other projects was a sweater I'm test-knitting for my son to wear.

I've got about six more inches to go on the sleeves before joining them to the body and working the yoke. I've been carrying the sleeves around with me and got a couple of hours done on them during a Footie game this weekend. Hope to get more done this weekend and maybe even get the whole thing finished, shortly.  It takes a couple of buttons at an angle near the neckline - so I need to get hopping in double-checking I have buttons that will work with this.

Second sweater started this month - set aside once I got to the work even for x number of rows/inches.... it was my first ever top-down, contiguous sleeve construction. The pattern: Ambiente (Rav link) is extremely well written, and I would strongly recommend trying it for a first contiguous sleeve project. I had no trouble at all following it and am pretty pleased with the results. I'm hoping to pick up on this as soon as I finish my son's sweater - yet this month barring any unexpected complications.

Third sweater started this month (but this is going to be one of those takes-a-bit sweaters). I'm planning on this one not getting finished until November.

You remember this shiny, amazing yarn?

Well, it's turning into this (though the color is a little washed out in this photo):

I'm adjusting the pattern to working top-down, contiguous sleeved... and so far, I'm really loving it. I'm about ten rows away from dividing off the sleeve stitches; once I do that, I'll probably set it aside a little while so I can get back to the other two sweaters OTN.

Not started yet:
  • AND a 12" Blanket square - pattern TBD

Not going to get started this month - the second hat... I'll have plenty of time next month for making more hats... so this is going to get sidelined in favor of the other projects I picked up and making sweaters.