Category Archives: Crafts

WIP Wednesday – Knitting 2016

 

When the new year begins I like to start a fresh to-do list for my knitting and crochet projects. I usually start out overly ambitious with a list longer than my arm. Some years I only get done up to my elbow, but that’s ok. I’m a gal that likes a plan, but don’t mind changing/altering/deleting the plan for a different plan when the need arises.

The first project I am working on is a pair of socks. The pattern is out of a book one of my son’s got me for Christmas, Socktopus by Alice Yu. It is called Om Shanti. I used 2 size 2 Addi circulars, making both at the same time until I got to the leg (these are toe up). Now I’ve divided them because the pattern calls for moving the stitches from needle to needle to jog the pattern. The yarn is some fabulous hand dyed Merino Superwash Wool in a beautifil colorway called Arizona Turquoise. I think they are working up really nicely and hope to finish them this week.

Arizona socks

 

So far I’ve been asked to make an adorable  Viking Hat for a friend’s new baby. I’m using this pattern: Viking Set – Viking Hat, Diaper Cover and Club by JTcreations check it out on Ravelry.

One of the gals at work asked me to make her a pair of socks. I’m going to use my favorite “plain” sock pattern that uses sport or DK wt yarn because she wants them to wear around the house when it is cold. You can find it here: Moda Dea LM0131, Knitted Socks. I’ve picked up some really soft washable yarn at Hobby Lobby that is part acrylic, part alpaca. I plan to start them when I finish my Christmas socks.

For the NICU unit this Easter, I plan to make these adorable Lamb Hats, the pattern was designed by Sarah Zimmerman. I won’t make the flaps or ties because they might get in the way since these babies have a lot going one.

© Repeat Crafter Me

I’m going to teach a Lunch & Learn class at work for anyone that wants to learn how to knit. Because we want the participants to make progress quickly, I searched for a pattern for a simple garter stitch scarf. Luckily I remembered Susie at our knitting night working on a cowl on huge needles. She is a new knitter and has whipped up 11 of them since November! She shared the pattern, which is just 10 stitches on size 50 (yes, you read it right) needles using super-bulky yarn. You work with 2 strands of yarn and it zips up super quick. I made a sample in a couple of hours today. As cold as it is here today, I could use this fluffy warm cowl to keep my face and neck warm. 🙂
Other misc projects I will get rolling on will be NICU hats for Christmas and either Thanksgiving or Halloween. Most likely they will be crocheted because they work up faster.
There will be a few Christmas gifts and I’d like to make a few more of the sock patterns that are in Socktopus. I certainly have a wide variety of yarns in my stash that I can use.
And of course my annual WIP. Seriously, I only have to do the one cuff ribbing and the neck ribbing on my brown sweater. I seriously am going to finish it. I have one sock to make to complete the plain black pair I started last February AND the afghans that I have had part of the squares completed for over a hear. As a matter of fact, I used part of the yarn for another project.
What do you plan to make this year?

 

 

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Filed under baby hats, Crafts, Crocheting, Easter, Knitting, NICU, Ravelry, socks, WIP Wednesday, yarn

Christmas Craft is Always a Blast!

I have posted before about our annual Christmas Craft. To catch you up, it is always a surprise until after Thanksgiving dinner. The craft has to be easily completed by the youngest person participating (the youngest this year is 3) and has to have the ability to be personalized so all of the projects turn out differently.

When this tradition started many years ago, we didn’t have the HUGE advantage of Pinterest. This year I found a couple of ideas using wine glasses. One was creating a snow globe effect and the other was painting the outside to use either as an actual glass to drink from or as a candle holder.

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There were lots of different designs. Our youngest artist painted a blue snowman as well as a plastic wine glass instead of the glass one the grown-ups used. We also helped her make a snow globe out of one of the plastic glasses.

The craft didn’t cost much. I purchased the wine glasses at the dollar store for $1 each. The plastic wine glasses were 6/$1. I got paint brushes in a package of 12 for $1, then just threw them out instead of trying to get the paint out of them.

The paint was .79 – $1.50 each, but I only purchases primary colors, black and white with a 30% off coupon at Michael’s. I also got all of the little snowflake, tree and reindeer stickers and figures 50% off with the additional 30% from Michael’s. The glitter, glue and cotton balls I had at home as well as the rubbing alcohol that is needed to clean the glass before painting. For under $20.00 we had an afternoon of fun and everyone has a Christmas decoration or wine glass to take home.

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She was not happy with the camera flash interrupting her painting. 🙂

 

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It is a messy, noisy, fabulous way to spend Thanksgiving!

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Concentration….

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And sometimes you have to take a break to play with a few toys 🙂

This is one of my favorite traditions, what are some of yours?

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Home Farm Wensleydales – Customer Service Extraordinaire!

I ordered some yarn last week after reading about the farm in a blog post for Woolvember.  The pictures of the countryside and sheep made me want to hop on a plane and visit Cotswolds, England to see it for myself. Per the card I received with my order, the Home Farm has been in existence for over 500 years and is now fully operational spanning 150 acres of “ancient ridge and furrow. I am aching to see it!

Isn’t possible, I decided to order some of their wool. The sheep are Wenselydale and Bluefaced Leicesters, and the pictures on their website are adorable in a sheepy way.  Check it out: http://www.homefarmwensleydales.com/

I purchased two different kinds of yarn. Even though the pure Winsleydale isn’t soft, and recommended for felting or “lacework or aran type coarse jumpers” I felt I wanted to work with some of the pure yarn that was the natural color of the sheep. I absolutely love the color and can picture the sheep that were walking around the countryside wearing this before they were shorn.

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It is not soft, but I love it anyway. I’m not sure what I’ll make with it, but whatever it is, I won’t decide until after the holidays.

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I also purchased a blend of Wensledale and Bluefaced Leicester that has been spun and dyed a beautiful spring green color. I am picturing a spring shawl. It is very soft and feels absolutely lovely. I haven’t decided what I’m actually making, but it will be fun to search for the perfect pattern.

Other than being extremely satisfied with the wool I received, the purchase was easy and delivery was fast. As a matter of fact, it only took 8 days to receive this order. It took over  a month to get an order from a warehouse less than 25 miles from home and this came all the way from England! I cannot explain it.

When I opened the package, the two types of yarn were carefully wrapped in separate tissue paper packages. There was a post card with information on the farm and the sheep, and a delightful, handwritten card thanking me for my purchase and telling me about the yarn. Now THAT is customer service and why I love purchasing yarn and other goods from the farms and people who are tending the sheep or growing the food whenever possible. If possible, I hope you do too.

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Filed under Crafts, Crocheting, farms, Knitting, NaBloPoMo, shawl, yarn

WIP Wednesday Pumpkin Patch

It has been busy couple of weeks. I finished the last two baby blankets while on a weekend trip to see my FIL. It was a great way to make the 18 hours in the car fly by. I love the colors Donita picked. They turned out great. I love the easy shell pattern. It is free and you can find it here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/shells-baby-afghan.

Purple blanket teal blanket

 

I also finished 25 pumpkin hats for the NICU unit. I used http://byjennidesigns.blogspot.com/2015/09/newbornpumpkinhat.html by Jenni Designs. They worked up really quick and turned out cute.

Pumpkin hats

I have a new project OTN, but it was just started on break today. I do like the way it is working up, so hopefully next week it will be close to completion if not done.

Ear warmer

I have a few Christmas projects I need to work on, but those won’t be blogged about until after the holidays.

There is a bit of sewing that needs to be completed before Christmas also. The hubby made an adorable bunk bed for my cousin’s little girl for Christmas. I have the fabric for the mattresses, pillows and blankets in her favorite color (purple). As soon as the weather gets a bit chillier I’ll get moving on the doll bedding as well as the flannel shirt I make for my FIL each year. In the meantime, here is a pic of the doll bed. I downloaded the pattern from Ana White Designs. (http://ana-white.com/2011/08/doll-bunk-beds-american-girl-doll-and-18-doll).

Doll Bed

 

Lastly the Touchdown scarf has been frogged. It was turning out just fine, but I realized it just wasn’t my style. And the yarn was wonderful and not exactly cheap. So it has been frogged and will be used on a project that someone will actually use. Sometimes I just need to accept that a good pattern that is working up as it is supposed to just might not be the right project for me.

 

 

 

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WIP Wednesday – To Swatch or Not Swatch, That is the Question

I honestly don’t know of any knitter that says they love to do a swatch to check his or her gauge. Personally, I prefer to jump right in, but know I cannot if I am making a garment or accessory that must fit properly. Scarves, afghans, dishcloths and anything else that you make that can be an inch or more bigger or smaller than the pattern reads most of the time end up being ok. But try and put on a sweater after weeks (or months) of knitting and realize it is too big or small due to gauge..this doesn’t end well.

First of all, check the pattern for the correct weight/type of yarn. It stands to reason worsted weight will knit up larger than fingering or sock yarn. Next, use the size needle the pattern calls for – unless you are an experienced knitter than knows you knit tighter/looser, But if you are, you already know all of this anyway!

Your pattern will tell you how many stitches and rows per inch you need to get the proper gauge so your finished garment will fit. The mystery KAL I am making now has a gauge of “8 sts and 13 rows = 2” in stockinette stitch. So the swatch I knit has to be at least a few, if not more, stitches and rows than 8 stitches, 13 rows. Personally, I like to make a nice little square of stockinette so that I can measure smack dab in the middle to make sure the stitches aren’t pulled or rolling along the sides as stockinette will do.

swatch

So I cast on 20 stitches with size 9 needles and worsted wt yarn that the pattern called for. I knit until I had a perfect square. Sometimes I don’t but this time I figured I’d make 2 of the little purple squares, sew them together and stuff them for a perfect doll sized pillow for my cousin’s little girl. She loves purple. 🙂

Using a contrasting yarn, I make a running stitch up 13 rows (gauge from the pattern), then use 3 more bits of contrasting yarn to run along 8 stitches at the top and bottom of the 13 row mark, then another along the end of the 8 stitches to make a box in the middle that should measure 2 inches. If it does, all is well. If not – back to the swatching board. Lucky for me this one was right on target

If the gauge is too small, I need to use a larger needle, too big I need to use a smaller needle because I don’t want to use a different weight yarn. There are tons of websites that explain gauge much better than I do, just google “knitting gauge” and you’ll get instructions, video and one of them will help you learn how to swatch like a pro. I like this one: http://sheepandstitch.com/what-is-knitting-gauge/

Now that I’ve preached the importance of swatching, I’ll catch you up on works in progress. Donita’s next baby blanket is barely begun, but it won’t take long to complete.

Donita blanket #3

I will be starting the Mystery KAL from Melody’s Makings on Ravelry since my swatch is done. 🙂 And since I am leaving for a few days of vacation I am either going to make the second black sock, which is boring but will be used this winter more than the fancier socks in crazy colors that I would rather knit. Practicality may or may not win out, I’ll let you know when I get back.

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WIP Wednesday – Lots of progress this week :)

bath poufThis week was very productive knit and crochet wise. I finished one bath pouf and am almost done with a second one. I am tired of those mesh ones from the store unraveling into a useless wad of nothing.  I used a pattern I found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puffy-bath-pouf  Check out  The Stitching Mommy’s website. She posts all kinds of nifty patterns, hints and tips.

The purple one is made out of Ripples – a yarn by Willow (which is really Herrschner’s)  and I am not really that pleased with the yarn . It seems to be too stretchy for this project. There were also 2 separate joins in one of the balls of yarn. This is a pet peeve of mine. If I pay for a new skein or ball of yarn, I don’t want to find knots in the middle of a project. But that is just me.

Since I love this pattern so much, and it works up wonderfully, I am making another one out of the suggested yarn (what a concept LOL) Lily Sugar ,n Cream. I’ll report back after  finish it and use a few times. As a rule, I love this yarn, so I am hoping for good things.

6.23.15 bath pouf

AND I finished and blocked the Possum Yarn Shawl. I love it. SO I’ve included tons of pictures. It isn’t nearly as intricate or fancy as the one Leslie is making for me out of the mink yarn – but I like this plan Jane shawl too.

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Last but not least, I started crocheting a cardigan for myself. It is the Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan by yarnspirations.com. I got the pattern from allfreecrochet.com. The only problem with the pattern is the is no yardage for any size except XS/S. Honestly, I love the pattern and hope that I have enough of the Serendipity Tweed I found in my stash to use. Oh yeah – shopping from my stash now that the closet is clean. Here is my progress – the bodice and sleeves are all worked in one piece. I have 2 rows left before starting the shaping for the sleeves so I am rolling right along.

Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan 6.24.15

No WIP next week – I’m off on an adventure. Keep your fingers crossed that the dogs will behave for my sons. 🙂

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Filed under Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, New Zealand, possum yarn, Ravelry, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Time to Tidy Up

This week I finished the yellow and blue blanket, and tucked it into a Ziploc bag to keep it clean and dog hairless until someone needs a blanket for a baby boy. blue and yellow blanket completed 6.7.15

My possum shawl is coming along. Starting last week I went on summer hours at work, so instead of an hour for lunch, I only have a 1/2 hour. That is fine with me because I get off earlier. But that cuts my work knitting time in 1/2, so I’ve been doing 2 rows a day. It will be done soon, but probably not this week. No pics, it really hasn’t changed much since last week.

Now on to the big project related to yarn this week. I clean out my ridiculously messy yarn/sewing closet. For the last six months, instead of putting the yarn away that I’ve ordered, I have just been chucking the boxes in the closet. It was making me crazy, but apparently not crazy enough to tidy up.

sewing room 2 before sewing room 1 before

You can see it was out of control. I fully expected to open the door one day and have a yarn monster attack me with a shiny set of addi turbos. Since it was a rainy weekend, I decided it was time to find the floor in there again. I pulled everything out of it except the file cabinets and went to work. The cabinets have sewing and knitting patterns in them as well as my knitting magazines. Mea hung around until I loaded up the bed the rest of the way with bins of yarn.

sewing room 1 Mea

After emptying all of the yarn bins, I organized them by fiber or type such as baby yarn and cotton. The special yarns I’ve ordered I keep in Ziploc bags hung by pants hangers, sometimes with the project pattern with it as well. That way they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

sewing room 2 after sewing room 1 after sewing room 3 after

Now  I can see what I have and there is room for both dogs to follow me in to look for yarn for my next project. They think they should go wherever I go, so both were exceedingly happy that the floor was no longer cluttered with yarn. I am banning myself from yarn shops unless there is a specific color or type of yarn that I absolutely have to get that isn’t available in my stash.

The only job I have left is organizing the separate patterns I have downloaded or pulled from magazines. I purchased some plastic expandable folders and am sorting them by type. As soon as I am finished they will go into the files with the magazines. I also want to add all of my books and magazines to Ravelry, but that is a job that might not be done until fall.

As for this week’s projects, I am going to work in my shawl and maybe even finish it 🙂 and make a “no-sew” tutu for my cousin’s little girl.

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WIP Wednesday – In the Pink!

This week’s projects just might tickle someone pink. The pink baby blanket is finished and hopefully keeping little Shannon warm these cold spring nights.

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I really love the pattern, You can find it here: http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/cp4.html It is called Shell’s Baby Afghan by Beverly A. Qualheim. It is especially cute in pink. Maybe that is because I have three sons so there wasn’t any pink in our laundry basket. 🙂

pink blanket 2015 #3_3

The color in this picture is more true than the first picture.


After finishing the afghan, I made a couple of pink polar bear hats for the NICU unit at Central DuPage Hospital. I think they turned out really cute. This is a pattern that I’ve used before, it works up quickly and is really cute.

NICU spring challenge Pink Polar Bear 4.26.15

The only adjustment I made was on the second hat I didn’t knit the entire suggested length of 14 inches, because I didn’t want it to be as large as the pattern calls for. Here is the pattern link, and I highly suggest using the Bernat pipsqueak yarn that is as soft as a cloud and works up beautifully, http://www.yarnspirations.com/li-l-polar-bear-hat.html

NICU spring challenge Pink Polar Bear 4.29.15

Since it is late, I suspect I will take some white Bernat yarn to work tomorrow to work on another baby hat. This weekend I may start a new project. I am itching to make a lace shawl for cool summer nights, but just can’t find a pattern that is what I want. I could finish the second sock – but that can probably wait until our summer trip to see our son and daughter-in-law. The drive is about 10 hours, so it is a good time to work on socks.

I have the sweater started last year calling to be finished, but still am not happy with the sleeves the pattern calls for, and have torn them out twice already. It won’t take long to finish once I sit down and get busy figuring it out, but don’t know if this weekend will allow the time.

I guess the WIP next week will be a surprise for all of us – me included! 🙂

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WIP Wednesday on Thursday

As you can see this is being posted on Thursday. Things have been hectic, but interesting to say the least. I’ve had an odd combo of crafting projects this week, but I’ll start with the socks I talked about last week. I am almost down to my toes, I figure about 4 rows and I’ll begin the decreases for the toe shaping. If I find an hour to work on them before the weekend, I will be ready to cast on the second sock, but honestly think it will be completed over the weekend instead of before. Here is a pic of the yarn I am using, it is heavier than the usual sock yarn I use, but wanted this weight for next fall to wear inside a pair of short boots that I absolutely love 🙂

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gray sock April 15 2

I also worked on fusing two tablecloths together. Sounds like an odd task, but let me explain. Back in the 80’s I was a stay at home Mom with 3 little boys. I used to read the magazines I received in the mail from cover to cover soaking in advise, tips and recipes. I read about starting a family tradition of signing a white table cloth on each holiday, then stitching the names to create a family heirloom of sorts. It seemed like a great idea until the stitching took longer than anticipated. I stitched some, my grandma stitched some, my aunt stitched some – and we still couldn’t keep up! So we switched to fabric paint. This was a good idea – or so we thought, until it started to flake off in the washing process (we actually eat with it on the table at all holidays) so we had to go to plan “C”. Now I purchase colorful Sharpie markers so that problem has been solved. Until….the younger generation started lobbying for a new tablecloth. All of the ex-girlfriends and a couple of ex-husbands were a point of contention. I was not willing to retire the tablecloth with the signatures of loved ones that are no longer with us. My grandma, mom, aunt and mother-in-law to name a few as well as the adorable signatures of the kids as they learned to print then write. So my plan was formed to make everyone as happy as I could. I purchased a second tablecloth, fused them together and will (hopefully before the next holiday) stitch a border on to even up the edges and secure the new side with the old side. Here is the pick I sent all the “youngsters” in the family to show them I was listening 🙂 They all seemed happy with the compromise.

tablecloth

The last thing I worked on this week was SOAP! I have been lusting after all of the beautiful soaps on Pinterest. My board Suds and Scrubs has tons of pins, I am obsessed. My friend Leslie got me the supplies I needed to make a simple batch of lemon soap for my birthday last week and I was dying to try it.

soap mold

The first thing that needed to be done was dry shredded lemon peels. I now have 4 naked lemons in my fridge, but the peels were fabulously fragrant after drying in the sun.

lemon for soap

The recipe was amazingly easy, soap base, essential oil, lemon peel and food coloring (note to self – one teeny speck of food coloring is more than enough). This was a super way to begin as it was easy and pretty fool proof . I made it in 2 batches, one with food coloring, one without.

setting soap

And the finished product that I am very pleased with for my first soap adventure. I am thinking soap for everyone at Christmas!!! LOL

finished soap

Now for the irons I have in the fire. The second sock is a given. I signed up for the Spring NICU challenge, so I have  newborn size baby hats to make. Read more about it here: http://www.sunsetfamilyliving.com/spring-2015-nicu-challenge-join/  I am not too concerned about getting them done, since I’ve already donated the 20 bunny hats this month, but want to complete at least 10 more. The nurse I know that works in the NICU I donate to said everyone fights over the bear hats, so I think I will focus on them.

Lastly, the gal at work that I just finished the baby afghan for in February needs another one.  I swear everyone she knows must be pregnant – with boys!!! I don’t know how happy she is going to be that I have to charge her more than I have been. I have been only a few dollars over the cost of the yarn, and honestly need to have a bit for all the hours involved.

Have a wonderful week – mine looks to be busy 🙂

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Filed under baby hats, blanket, Crafts, Crocheting, family, Knitting, NICU, Soap Making, socks

WIP Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

This week was extraordinarily ordinary. Work, family time and date night with friends on Saturday made for a great balance. I love weeks that include a bit of fun as well as work. I only made one NICU hat this week. I didn’t use a pattern, just made it up as I worked.

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I set the bunny hats aside for a week or so to allow time to complete the blanket for my friend’s grandson. He is up to 2.4 pounds and doing well. His blanket is coming along. It looks kind of odd now with the circle in the center, but when the ears and face are complete, the puppy blanket is really cute. The pattern is on Ravelry, Puppy Dog Granny Afghan Square by Rhonda Guthrie.

Xavier's puppy blanket

 

 

At this stage it is kind of hard to picture, so below are a couple of pictures of one of the last ones I made. They work up quick and easy. Hopefully by next Wednesday, I’ll have a picture of the completed project to share. Keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

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