Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A couple of gifts down

First, I finished a hat for little 'a' a bit ago... then yesterday I managed to finish off a matching scarf. He has TONS of hand-made hats. But they are all 'special' and draw attention. And in the fourth grade? Drawing attention to yourself is not in his comfort zone.

But these should be cozy and warm for him this winter!

The next one is a secret project... for another little boy... who has asked me to make this exact item - and I told him that I didn't want to make it.... but decided today that if I could whip it out, it'll be great in his gift at Christmas time. I'll probably stick it in the bag of clothes (ooh - yuck... clothes for Christmas.... ugh - LOL).

I still have another ski mask to make for Christmas gifts and the Mario blanket to finish up ... making December a much lighter pile of knitting tasks than usual.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pikachu is finally done

I'm not quite sure he looks like the character... but I did what I could.

Here's the finished Pikachu:

Yeah... not perfect.... but eh... my son loves him anyway.

The yarn I had started him with was more neon-shaded... but I ran out and couldn't get more... so the new yellow is a bit brighter than the photo would appear... it's a good color.  I didn't get the face/head quite right. But I love the ears and the tail. Tail is made in seed stitch with lots of zigs and zags and a bit of darker color at the base. I added stripes to his back with duplicate stitching.

Sadly, he looks a bit more like a pillow than a pikachu... but I can live with it since little 'a' loves him all the same.

Of course, five seconds after he took Pikachu back to his room after he was finished he came back to me asking for a Snorelax... because it 'ought to be easy and really good for cuddling'.

While he ought to be easy enough to make.... I'm not sure I'm ready to sign up for coming up with him from scratch with no pattern... not yet anyway. Maybe. Good news is that his face is pretty straight-forward embroidery - so at least I'd be less likely to mess it up. So, for right now,  little 'a' is just going to have to settle for 'let me think about it'.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pikachu is in the home stretch

I've finished the body and head which felt like a total slog.

The ears were finished last night. The arms are over half done today. I think I'll manage to whip through the arms and legs tonight. That leaves me the tail to knit tomorrow... and seaming and making his face on Sunday.

It's just streaming along now that I'm through the worst of it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Super-fast necklace

A couple of months ago there had been a class prompt that asked you to use some metalic colored yarn as one of the options. I wasn't going to do it... but in the craft store I stumbled onto a rack of Lion Brand BonBons and kept eyeing the package of metalics.  The package contained six little 35-ish yard mini-skeins and the metalics package had silver, gold, copper, etc. Super cute and super fun... and I broke down and brought the package home.  I ended up whipping out a super-easy, super-fast bracelet...

Basically, I knit three different I-cords; then braided them... which was inspired by a thought I had around making a braided rag rug - but instead of using rags; I wanted to use scrap bits of yarn and make I-cords from them. Making the bracelet  helped me think through the process and experiment a little.

This month, along comes another prompt... this time it was to be inspired by keys... and I couldn't resist adding a necklace to match:

It took only about 5 yards of each yarn. I used big needles to make it go quick... an dit did. About one hour from first cast on to trying on.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pikachu to 50%

It's felt like a total slog. I suppose in part, because I had over 30 hours of work in before I had to restart it. (Never really helps the attitude of 'is this ever going to end' when you do things like that).

And of course... just when I decided the head section was long enough... I convince myself it needs another half inch. Then after placing the eyes in when I thought I was done with the length I realized I placed them where I thought they should be from the top as if there wasn't going to be a good half inch to three-quarters of an inch taken up by the seam/top of the head section. And of course, being safety eyes, removing them to move them wasn't easily done. Sigh. So, I had to knit some more.

But, last night - I finished the head and body section and grafted the top of the head closed. Not my best grafting effort... but it's DONE. Now, it's onto the ears, the arms, the legs, and the tail. Then the embroidery and seaming....   I figure  I have about a week worth of work left to do on it... can't wait to show him off!!!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Still churning away on Pikachu, start of a scarf

Working on the pikachu is pretty tedious, but finally progressing.Right now it's just stockinette in the round on tiny needles (so tightly knit). I've got about one more inch on the body/head section to do before I move stitches from either end off onto waste yarn (for the ears) and seam the top. Then there are the small diameter ears, the small legs and arms, the tail and the finishing embroidery/facial pieces.   I'm hoping to get him finished by the end of next week.

Since it's soooo tight knitting and slow and a little boring... I started a scarf for little 'a' to match his black hat. I'm using Red Heart With Love yarn which is dense and thick and really nice for an acrylic. I'm basically knitting a tube of stockinette, but with a ready made seam at the bottom and it will end up having a seam at the top. I'm also adding a single stripe at each end about 6" from the end... in part to help it match the hat and in part to help give me something interesting. I'm at about 10" now, so a good LONG while before I get to the next stripe. And it's basically stockinette in the round - but in black. Good news is that I'm using size 10 needles so at least the knitting is nice and loose and relaxing. I'm spending a lot of time while knitting it thinking about how the thick scarf is going to be very warn and sooo soft due to the yarn... and hoping it will help keep hims a lot warmer this winter.

Normally I have a half-dozen projects in play at any given time. I've got a couple of WIP projects that will either get frogged or worked on next month. In the meantime, I'm down to one WIP that I started a couple of months ago. It's a scrap yarn project to help me use up a ton of tiny 'ends'. I was using bits and pieces that were averaging around 1 - 3 yards to knit on the 3 I-cords and the braiding them... to eventually get wound up and sewn into a braided rug. Because it had been almost a week since I'd had any ends to add to it, I dug into my scrap basket... and found a couple balls of yarn that are probably 5 to 20 yards. I took the time to add three of them to the length... and have one more that I can add today... and I am sure that I can dig through the basket to find more. Funny enough - being I-cords... it's basically 6 knit stitches, repeated... which means that it's probably been a week since I've done a purl stitch (except in knitting classes). But by adding the variety of colors, and the unpredictability of working on a scrap I-cord braid with whatever colors I find next... I'm really enjoying it. I can't wait to see what the next section of braid is going to look like.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Or not so much.

I've been knitting and knitting on the Picachu Pokemon stuffie. And there is SO MUCH MORE to do.

It's a little hard on my hands knitting at a tighter than natural guage (so the stuffing won't show).

Last night I put in a good hour to an hour and a half and got another half inch done.

Set it aside and cast-on a scarf for my son to match his black hat. In about 45 minutes (BIG needles) I got about 4" done.  I so need to do more knitting like this! Let me just say how rewarding it felt to have the visible changes done before I set it aside before bed. The black is a bit boring... but I was enjoying watching some of the older shows on Misfits on Hulu Plus... and mindless and fast knitting was the perfect compliment.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nearly there - but not quite done yet.

Oh, so close. But it doesn't seem like it's going to be quite the right size just yet. This is for the bottom bunk on my son's bunk bed - which is Full-sized. I don't want a lot of drape down either side... and my first thought before I seamed it was that I didn't think it would be wide enough. But, now that I've laid it out, I'm relieved that the width seems fine.

Of course? The height is too short. LOL. And my little 'a' is getting taller by the day. So, one idea I had was to add a third set of 15 blocks ... but I don't know that it needs to be quite that long.

Instead I'm thinking about blocking out some verbiage and creating a single panel all the way across the top...  "Mario" or "Mario & Luigi" across the top... and "know your mushrooms..." across the bottom.

I was thinking red lettering for Mario and maybe green for the "know your mushrooms"... but one look at the logos' and it's got a lot of different primary colors per letter... I'm hoping to sleep on it and focus on making the last two panels in December and finish the seaming before Christmas.

On the simple black hat

Little 'a' needed a hat that did not call attention to himself. I get it,  he's 10. Making yourself noticeable can make you a target.

The hat was made, was worn long enough to take a photo... then a scornful look and it got dragged off and thrown at me. Admittedly, he was grumpy, it was the first day of basic skills testing.

But then it got downright COLD. Hat got worn on Wednesday. Last night I got a hug... the hat was warm and cozy and did NOT catch anyone's attention. Today, he put the hat on without any comment and headed to school. Victory.

Though now I'm debating a black with red stripe scarf to go with the hat because it'll be getting even colder here before too long. And the only scarf he has right now is the one he stole from me when he was about 4... and it's bright blue fun fur. A little girly at 4; exceptionally so at 10. I'm thinking he needs a new scarf.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Charity Hat, NEWT progress, plus a family hat

The prompt for this hat was to make something you've made before. And yeah... I've done a TON of these two-color brioche hats. But, I had taken a bit of a break from them... so it took a little longer at each row change to remember, then muscle memory took over.

As I made this one (using DK weight yarn)... it seemed to take a really, really long time to make. Of course, while I was working on it at the KnitXMidwest retreat... I was spending some time socializing. I was also sitting next to someone who crocheted 10 baby hats in the same time it took for me to knit 4" on this hat. So, I was feeling a little 'inefficient'. But, I wanted to play more with the two shades of purple (dark and variegated) yarn that I had picked up at the shop the evening before... and this was hat #2 out of the yarn. Plus I should have enough for at least two more baby hats.... that will probably be simple stockinette with some striping. Fun colors, fun retreat... and whether or not I felt 'efficient'... I felt productive... and a little tired. Retreats can be exhausting. I didn't finish the hat until last weekend... I had set it aside to do other things and got back to it when I needed a break from working on Pikachu and the Mario blanket.

It may not seem like much - but there's a good 8" of progress on Pikachu (yeah... well, at this point he's a yellow 'bag' and a ton of progress on the Mario blanket (still to be revealed in more glory).

And then there was my son... who has MANY special hats made for him... going to school without a hat on a cold day. Why, you might ask? Becuase he's 10 and he wants to dissapear into the woodwork at school. So, I made him a 'don't notice me' hat, which he wore for about 10 seconds. Maybe when it gets a little colder. I used the lovely new Red Heart With Love Yarn for the black. It's oooooh- so soft, squishy and thick. It made quick work of the hat and I made sure to get it finished Sunday night so he could wear it to school yesterday (as if). I love him... I really truly do. But, sometimes one has to wonder what's in his head.

Actually, it's REALLY cold out today. But he's at home with a fever? Perhaps because he was outside yesterday in the snow and the cold and with no hat???? hmmmm.... perhaps. Little stinker. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mario Blanket progress

This has been a fairly long project.

I did 9 blocks in two months for my one and only successful Order Mission:

Then the plan was to do 21 more squares... the first 18 are here:

And now I've finished the last 3 that I had planned.

As I was working on these last few squares... I felt really good about my progress. The brick squares had started to get a bit tedious. But the questions and mushrooms go really quite quickly. The bright colors are fun and entertaining. Add that the mushrooms charts are quite symmetrical (means that chart reading is simplified as it doesn't really matter if you are on an odd or even row).  But, also a bit nervous. I cannot imagine what I was thinking when I bought my son a new bed... a full sized mattress as opposed to a twin. What was I thinking? I embark on a five month long project like this and change out the bed for a bigger bed at the middle of the project? I figure I'll get it all seamed and decide if I actually need to add another vertical panel to the whole thing to make it big enough. As it was, I was already worried about the length and had some thoughts to adding a horizontal band at the top (for sure) and possibly even across the bottom. If the length is also too short - I'll have to figure out what the next steps are and just how much bigger to make it and the best way to do it.

Either way, I'm going to try to focus my intentions onto my son's wonderful attitude improvements and try to stress less about how long it's taking. This blanket should be a really nice treat for his room.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Restarting Pikachu

I had started working on a Pikachu a couple of months ago and ram low on yarn..... And have spent two months trying to get the right shade and brand. Only to fail repeatedly.

That's what I get for playing fast and loose with ball bands and being oh so sure of myself when I started the project. Sure that doubling the project from the original pattern would not be an issue. Over confident. And it bit me in the ass.

Last night, I picked up the skein of not quite right, but it will do in a pinch if I start over.... And I cast on. I have hours and hours to go before I will be where I left off with the other yarn. And Weeks to go before he will be done. But its easy (if a little boring).

The night before last... My son and I were in the car on the way to his brother's house so they could watch then during my knitting class. He wanted to know more about what I was going to be teaching. I explained that it was intermediate knitting and about it being for folks who want to take their knitting to the next level.

Really? That's cool mom. But I wouldn't want to waste your time.

I was completely lost. Had no clue what he was talking about. But wanted to reassure him that any time I spent with him was always the best part of my day and never a waste.

No, he just knew how important my charity and 'special' knitting projects that he wouldn't want to slow my knitting time down for me to teach him additional knitting skills.


You mean you don't want me to delay the knitting on the Pikachu I am making for you, don't you?

Big toothy grin from the backseat. Pretty much. LOL

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Knitting Hats

November 1st rolled around... and it was a SUPER busy day. Eight hours at work followed by a four hour drive on the Interstate (little 'a' was heading to dad's for the weekend).

I had started a hat in August and left it with a single end to weave in for a ultra-fast turn in to the Forbidden Forest (detention) in HPKCHC.

This was made with some self-striping cotton scraps and I didn't think I could really find a good coordinating color to go with the 'chocolate mint' look. But it sure is super-cute. I held onto it until the First so I could WIPtheFirst... and it took me less time to finish the hat than it did to figure out how I was going to get a picture of it with my camera/cellphone in the dumps. This ended up being a webcam shot.

Then I proceeded to spend two days at a LOVELY and AMAZING knitting retreat - KnitXMidwest - I hope they plan to do it again next fall because it was UBER-Awesome.

Part of the awesomeness of it was getting to spend the whole weekend with a good friend from HPKCHC - and owner of She Makes Hats. I had planned to work on both my Pikachu stuffy (which needs to get restarted due to yarn issues); and my Know Your Mushrooms blanket... and I had pre-loaded jpgs and pdfs to my Kindle... only to have the Kindle charger die (serious tech issues lately... sigh).

So, instead I took along my double-knit blanket project. Which needs work. And I had thoughts somehow in my head that I could work on it for the whole weekend and get it to a reasonable length that it wouldn't be impossible to finish before the 23rd. Yeah. Right. I don't think I even finished a whole row before I threw it back in the bag in disgust. It's not that it's that hard. But it did require both concentration and focus - which was just not working for me at a retreat.

So, I reached back into my bag for a Purple hat I had cast on ... and didn't find it. Sigh - I had grabbed the wrong bag. Which was really a shame - because that had the circular needle I had planned to use for making more scrap hats when I finished the purple one. But, no big deal. I had a smaller circular needle in my notions bag (a just in case, kind of needle)... and I had lots of scraps of yarn.

So, I cast on and knit charity hat #2 for the month:

But on a slightly too small needle, and sitting next to a person whipping out about two crochet baby hats an hour... I got impatient. So, I went to the vendors/hosts of the retreat and found a bigger diameter circular needle... and whipped out one more hat with scraps:

Then we got to visit my favorite LYS (the hosts of the retreat) and visit some more and pick up some yarn. And I thought - well, I could still get a purple hat finished if I pick some up, right? And got intrigued with playing with a coordinating purple-ish/pink-ish variegated yarn... and on Saturday night I seamed in the ends on charity hat #4 for the week:

Sunday, I cast on for an adult hat (much more slow to knit) with the two shades of purple... in Brioche two-color stitch. I'd share a photo if I had one... so I'll post a reminder to myself to get one. I worked on it a little more this week... but not much. I had too much prep-work to do for my knitting class.

The good news is that these four hats here? Got me to my 2013 Charity Knitting goal of making 50 charity hats. Apparently I'm not done with hat knitting though - since I have two charity hats on the needles, one more that has been musing my noodle... and at least one to make for a gift for my grandson.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rethinking the blog

Between technical issues ....

... work laptop ancient browser cannot be upgraded and blogger no longer supporting it
... home laptop power cord died
... kindle power cord died
... cell phone vs ultra-frustrated 10 yr old

Etc etc

And new found inspiration found at a knitting retreat where I spent two days with ultra crafty folks

And especially two days being inspired by and charmed by both Robyn of http:\\ and Jen of http:\\

Well, let's just say I took a look at my out-dated and ever-so-slightly boring blog.... and decided its time for some changes and focus.

I still plan to post info about what I am making and a little time talking about the inspiration. But instead of doing monthly planning... a single progress post and an end-of-month wrap up that throws all the projects en masse and probably a bit more overwhelming.... I am thinking I will focus more on what, when, why and a bit at a time... see if I can't share more thoughts... a little more of myself.

Stay tuned.