Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Felting results

So, I had a chance to felt my purses the other day.  I learned a TON, hah!  So, lets start with the before picture, just as a reminder.

So the knit bag is on the left and the single crochet bag on the right.  As you can see the knit is just slightly wider than the crochet, but because it is felted, that doesn't matter.  They were both 10" high from bottom to top, plus the base which wasn't very wide.

Last night I put both into a pillow case, tied it up (to keep the loose fibers from getting into the machine) and put them on a hot/warm washing cycle.  This was a top loading washer with a center agitator.  The hot water loosens up the fibers so that they are open to one another, and the agitation makes the little microscopic hooks within the wool fiber catch together and result in shrinking the item.  That is what I wanted it to do.  Every few minutes I checked to check on the progress.  What I think I failed to do was check on both of them every time.  This is the final result.  The knit bag is on the left, the crochet on the right.

As you can see...I screwed up.  Apparently stockinette-stitch knit items felt A LOT faster than single crocheted items.  I should have taken out the knit bag much earlier, or I should have felted them separately.  So, that is a good thing to know.  The crochet bag isn't exactly what I was hoping for, but it is close.  I'm not positive if I screwed up on that one or if that is just how it comes out. I expected it to be slightly wider, I suppose.  The crochet bag shrunk, length wise, about an inch.  The knit bag shrunk about 3.  Either way the crochet bag it is cute and nicely sized.  I am thinking about turning the smaller one into a wallet - adding a zipper or something so that stuff doesn't fall out.  But we'll see.  When I decide I will show you that, too.

In any case this was a really good learning experience and I will take away lots of lessons from my mess up.  I am slightly annoyed, but I can't really beat myself up too much over it.  Things happen.  And honestly, I only need one bag, I only made the second because I had more yarn.  If I wanted I could make yet another because I still have plenty of yarn left over.  I will think about it!

In the same load I decided to put the new baby bonnet that I made as well.  It was exceedingly stiff and kind of rough.  I didn't add any detergent, just the hot water.  Apparently it was enough to "kill" the acrylic, because now the hat is floppy and super soft.  Killing acrylic yarn is what you do rather than blocking.  Because it isn't wool it wont keep its shape (especially in stockinette) unless you kill it.  I have heard of people using an iron over top of a piece to kill the acrylic - apparently washing in super hot water has a similar effect.  Also a great thing to know!  Now the item that I "killed" in the wash wasn't in stockinette stitch.  I am not positive that it will turn out the same way, I will have to test it some time.  But in the meantime I am really happy with how it softened up the baby bonnet, now it is super cute and soft enough for baby.  

This is where a baby head goes!
This is the opposite side view.  The circular pattern actually goes up onto the baby head, otherwise it would not come up far enough on the head.  I will try to get a baby to put this on so that you can understand a bit better, perhaps.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lazy Sunday

Well, I am sitting here thinking about what I want to write about.  I did finish a new baby bonnet, though I used the wrong size yarn so it turned out larger than I wanted/expected.  It is still super cute.

I haven't learned any new tips or tricks today.  My inspiration (read: my niece) came to visit me today, though she was not overly thrilled at my holding her.  Little does she know that I am the favorite!  Haha.  Her momma did give me some crap today about the amount of yarn I have.  Oopsie!  I said that it was just a result of my inability to knit and crochet quickly.  So I need to work on that, obviously!

Oh!  So, I have this nifty little over the shoulder bag that is about 6"x7" with a zipper.  I can throw the strap over myself across my chest so that I don't have to worry about losing it.  Now, I tend to like small purses, but this is honestly a touch small for most things I prefer.  However, when I go out to the bar, or when I go somewhere that I wont have a place to put a purse, it is perfectly sized.  That doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it really is nice to not have to worry about keeping track of a purse.

The problem with the one that I have is that it is blue.  That is all fine and good, except that I almost never wear blue.  I want one in black or brown or off-white, or a color that I wear a lot.  So, I think I am going to attempt another pattern so that I can make a similar bag of similar dimensions in the color that I want!  I know how I basically want it to look, I just have to figure out how to get that look, as well as a lining (I think - depends on what kind of stitch I end up going with) to work.  So, at some point in the future I will have that posted up on to Ravelry.  When I do i'll let you know!  I think I will try to keep the same dimensions, including the strap length.  It appears to be a crocheted item, but I think they used thread.  I am going to probably try it with some DK, just because making an entire purse out of crochet thread sounds miserable.  I will let you know how it goes!

I think I might try to work on the baby blanket tonight some.  That will force me to learn how to yarn over in knitting, as well as a new decrease that I have never done.  I don't have much else to say, so I will just keep this short tonight.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blankets to keep me warm

Well, I finally got some pictures of the two throw blankets that I made in January or February!

I made both from the same pattern - they each require the use of very large needles (size 50) and stitches are made holding 4 strands of thick yarn, rather than a single strand as you normally hold for a stitch.  They stretch a lot, which I actually really like.  They are stretchy because they are in stockinette stitch, and they shrink or stretch depending on how you put them down.  They are heavy in terms of weight and they are warm, but they don't get me too hot, which I really like.  When I pull one over me the weight of the blanket on itself ends up forming around me really nicely.  I enjoy them a lot!

I know that I have mentioned stockinette stitch on here before, but this is a pretty good example of it.  In stockinette all of the "V" shaped stitches are on one side of the item.  So especially in the purple one above you can see each of the little "v" stitches.  On the other side of stockinette you see little bumps or ridges.  I know it is kind of difficult to tell in the pictures below, but one side you can see the "v" shapes and the other side you can see the bumps.  The "v" side is considered the right side of a work (though depending on how you want something to look this doesn't mean that it has to be on the outside).  Naturally, the other side is the wrong side.   

 Because I had to hold 4 strands of yarn together I decided to mix the colors up.  I couldn't decide if I wanted a pink or a green or a purple blanket, so I mixed and matched and made a second blanket!  This way I have a blanket for my couch and one for my big chair and I don't have to move it back and forth, haha!

The pattern called for the short edges to be given fringe.  But, a) I don't like much fringe and b) this yarn doesn't seem like it would be good for fringe.  Instead I stopped before I completely ran out of yarn and I did two single crochet rows around the edges.  This helps them to lay flatter because stockinette stitch will always curl in on itself, especially on a flat piece - it is just the nature of the stitch.  So this helps with the curl problem.  Plus, it gives me a spot to grab on to to pull under me when I am snuggling down.  On each corner rather than just doing one stitch I did three to get all the way around without making it pinch or pull.

These are by far my largest projects in terms of finished size.  However, they went pretty quick because, as I said, I used 50mm needles to make them.  I keep meaning to get a post up here about needles and hooks and the various sizes, I need to get on that!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pictures and fun things!

So, I finally got a bunch of pictures taken today!  Here they are.

 These are the twin bags.  They did come out differently, the knit one is much stretchier and wider than the crochet. But my guess is that it will shrink more, too, because there is more open space.  It is fun to experiment, though!  I apologize for not having anything in this photo for scale, but each is 10" tall.

This I just couldn't help but make.  It was super simple, but I think babies should all have a Yoda hat!  It is pretty awesome.  I added the ties because I know that some babies (read: my niece) like to pull their hats off.  Foiled!

This is that same pattern that my niece is wearing in green and white with a red flower.  This one is, obviously, a lot more pink.  I haven't yet added a flower to it, I can't decide what color to go with.  I thought about purple, but I am afraid that that will just take it over the top.  So, until I decide, this is it!  I really do love this pattern!

After I made my sister her washcloths for Christmas I had just enough cotton from that skein left over to make this washcloth.  It is an easy pattern, but the pattern gives it enough design in the knit to still be interesting.

These were just some super quick facial cleansing pads that I whipped up, also made from absorbent cotton.  I only have the two at the moment, I want to try them out and see if I like them before I bother to make lots.  I just like the idea of having reusable items for things like this.

This is the bottom edge of the baby blanket I am making.  The green rings are stitch markers so that I don't have to count to 145 every time I go across to make sure that I am making the right stitches in the right place.  This is being made from a ball of yarn that I got from the thrift store.  I decided to use it because it isn't so typically PINK, though I do love my pink!  A nice peach color I thought was relatively neutral, and even if it isn't, it will be something that most people aren't giving to a baby.  

This is all on one long circular needle - part of an interchangeable set that I got as my Christmas present this year.  I love the needles!  They are all super nice to use.  They are Hiya-Hiya brand and although the cable tends to curl up, the needle tips are absolutely amazing.  Good choice to ask for them and a fabulous gift!  I use them a TON.

This is the pre- and post- felted version of my door stopper.  The colors did change some, though the lighting exacerbates the change.  This gives a sense of just how much a felted item shrinks - that is a quarter sitting on both of them.  The bottom one is filled with beans now, too, so that distorts the shape some, but in any case, it shrank dramatically. I apologize, it looks like I took the pictures in opposite directions.  If you look at the large purple section on the top photo that is on the left-hand side you can see that same section on the right-hand side in the second photograph.  Either way, it shrank A LOT.  Which is kind of the point.

This is the necklace that I mentioned earlier today.  As you can see it is not attached to a chain or other necklace, but this is the crochet portion.  I use crochet thread or floss and a very small sized hook to crochet around plastic rings.  I then just sew each of the rings together in whatever pattern I like, use a small bead to hide the thread from the front, and voila!  I am excited to play with this with a lot of different colors and different combinations of the rings.  They are relatively quick and easy, and once I figure out how I want to attach a necklace to it, I should be able to make them for both myself and for friends.  

Well, this very wide variety of items that have been recently started and completed hopefully show some of the range of items that I like to do.  I am far from an expert.  I notice a lot of mistakes in my work and imperfections.  But, over all, I don't think I do half bad considering that I have been doing this only about 9 months, give or take.  I enjoy finding new projects to make and then playing with them until they really become my own.  I like the exploration that is possible with all of these types of projects.  It is a freaking blast!

Just a quickie!

Well, I finished the crochet version of my bag yesterday.  I didn't get a picture of them together, but I will try to do that later today.  Now just to wash/felt them and see how they turn out!

I am also continuing, very slowly, on the baby blanket - I have finally finished the first border, ha!  I am also off and on working on a cute little baby bonnet.  I don't know what these are really for, except as fun things to make.

The next couple of weeks are going to be super busy for me, and while I will certainly try to keep updates coming and continue to work on new projects, I am likely to miss a day here and there.  The last push before the end of the semester and before I graduate.  Hooray for that!  Now I just need to get my job situation straightened out.

In the meantime I have found a home for my crochet thread so that it isn't hanging out in the middle of my floor anymore.  I am going to be using that to make a variety of necklaces.  I have already finished one - it just needs to be attached to an actual necklace.  Once that happens I think it will be super cute!  I never thought I wanted to make my own jewelry  and I don't still, but I have no problem making some pieces now and then.  I will try to get a picture of the part that is crocheted to put up here, and I might get some in-progress pictures of the things I am currently working on.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Starting out

Well, I still have a number of projects in the works, but nothing that I have taken pictures of yet, so we'll just have a picture-free day today, I suppose!

Aside from the things I have mentioned in earlier posts about why I love knitting and crocheting (read here: I love my needle arts).  I think I also like experimenting with a large variety of yarns.  I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I am a graduate student, which means I am insanely poor.  Most of the yarn that I have purchased has come from thrift stores.  All of my collection of straight needles, some of my circular needles, and almost all of my crochet hooks have all come from various thrift stores in town.  Now, I am extremely lucky to live in a college town that has AMAZING thrift stores!  So I admit that I have gotten super lucky in finding as much as I have.  I have also brought home probably 25 skeins of 100% wool, some of it worsted and some DK, that were all about $2 a piece at the thrift store.  I have gotten baby yarn, I have gotten 1lb skeins of yarn, and I have purchased some sweaters that I then took apart for the yarn because I loved the color.  I admit to having entirely too much yarn.  I justify it to myself by buying it at the thrift store, though!  Granted, some of what I have gotten there is less than fabulous, but most is at least worth the price I pay for it.  If it hadn't been for the thrift stores around here there is no way that I could knit and crochet nearly as much as I do.

So, back to cool yarn.  As I said, I have gotten baby yarn at the thrift store as well as 100% wool.  I have gotten cotton/wool blends, cotton, DK, worsted, lots of crochet thread, thick gauge yarn, too.  A good portion of it has been acrylic, but, as I have said before, that doesn't bother me.  I have found places to use it that I think it has worked wonderfully.  Just last week I found a bag of a huge variety of beads - from seed beads up to larger than the size of a green pea.  They are in all different colors, some of the larger ones have painted decoration on them.  In any case, I am really excited about them and I can't wait to add some of them to various things I make!  The huge variety of yarn that I get this way (sometimes something I want is bagged with something I normally wouldn't pick up) leads me to try projects that I might not otherwise think of.  Pompom yarn, various types of variegated yarn, crochet thread, this baby blanket that I started the other day and lots of other stuff.  It is just a bag of excitement waiting for me to figure out what I am going to do with it!

The other place I shop for yarn (when I don't have a 50% off coupon for Joann's or Michael's) is Craigslist.  I am looking at about 15 skeins of a wool blend yarn in some really  nice colors for $10.  This is usually a hit or miss spot - either someone has nothing that I want (when it is advertised) or they have lots of yarn because they are giving up a craft.

Basically I am just a patient person when I am waiting for yarn.  I managed to hit it big at the thrift stores when I first started (I don't think many people think to go there for knitting needles, crochet hooks, and yarn,) and now I have a large enough stash to keep myself occupied until I find something else I think I can't live without.  I'm sure this is money that would be better spent elsewhere, but I love it.  It is a great way for me to relax, I can do it while reading for class or watching TV and it makes me feel much more productive.  Plus, now I am having fun trying to find ways to reduce my stash some because it has gotten a bit out of control.  So I am getting lots of really fun things made, and it is fabulous!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Finishing up and starting anew!

So, I began knitting a bag the other night for felting.  To make the bottom it had me just knit garter stitch for 6 rows and then it told me to pick up stitches on the other three sides.  I wasn't completely sure how to do that - to get the yarn where I needed it was really difficult.  I ended up using 3 different sets of circular needles to hold stitches until I could figure out how to get it all onto the same needle.  I am quite sure that I looked a fool!  I have it going for now, we'll see how it turns out.  I think I will have more than enough yarn left over to make a second bag, and I think I will do that one with the crochet option.  I doubt that there will be a difference in the finished project, but it will be fun to do, anyway.  Plus, then I can give one away and I always like that.  This is the knit one after I finally got it on a single set of circulars and after the part where I was struggling to get it to shift properly around the needles.

I have owed this to my younger sister since Christmas - all of her stuff was Harry Potter themed (I think I mentioned that in an earlier post).  I wanted to make her something to wear, but I didn't want to do a full scarf.  So I made this that can be worn as I have it here, or it is long enough to go around her waist as a belt.  Hopefully she'll enjoy it, anyway!

This was a key-hole scarf I started about a couple of months ago and finished a couple of weeks ago.  I think it turned out really cute, though the colors don't show up here really well.  I admit, I preferred the blue and silver colors and how they stood out on the feather-like yarn.  Once it was knit up, it lost some of its prettiness, in my mind, but it is still cute.  My other complaint is that this yarn sheds and leaves bits of yarn all over whatever you are wearing with it.  Needless to say, since I already have a cat, I don't really need to be pulling anything extra off of my clothes.  Hopefully it will stop after a few wearings?  I hope so, anyway.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

My amazing model

This was my very first knit hat.  It stretches quite a bit, so its really nice for babies who grow so stinking fast!

These were my little girl's Easter gifts!  Clearly she makes them look better than they were made, but she can't be blamed for that!  This first one is a shell stitch crochet hat with a super simple flower that I made for the contrast.  I think it turned out pretty well.

So, she is admittedly not in to hats right now and enjoys taking them off at the first chance she gets.  The fact that her mom got a picture in three of her hats is really quite impressive!  I love this pattern and I am currently in the middle of making a second version of this hat.  It is simple, easy to work up, and keeps sun out of baby's eyes and off the tender head.  It also provides just a touch of shade for small shoulders when necessary.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A little of everything

Sorry I didn't get a post up yesterday.  I decided to begin the baby blanket anyway.  I have picked out my pattern and I have done a single row of the border,  nothing too fancy.

I also finished another baby hat yesterday and cast one one to work on in class tomorrow.  I also made a couple of facial cleansing pads and started on another cute baby hat.  I wont be giving this hat to my niece, she isn't in to hats right now.  I don't know, some things I save in the hope that, eventually, I might have a kiddo or two of my own.  I would like to have things for said kiddo.  Or kiddos.  So sometimes I make things and just stash them away in the hopes that I will have a child one day that can wear them.  If nothing else, I can always save them and pull them out when I need a gift, right?

I am also prepping myself to make super cute things for children that my brother hopes to adopt.  I know nothing about them yet, but I am so excited!  I told my brother he has to let me know as soon as he does ages and genders of the kiddos who will be his so that I can work on quickly becoming the favorite aunt!  Hooray!  Hahahah.

So, the storm that I knitted up last week has finally showed up.  Unfortunately my university doesn't seem to think that heavy snowfall, on top of ice and 12" of previous snow is reason enough to close.  So, here I am, wasting some time at work.  They are going to have to send us home, even the major road in town was collecting snow when I came in.  Of course, I paid for parking today, which annoys me.  But I couldn't justify staying home and losing another day's worth of pay.  So, we'll see how early they close, and until then I will sit here and dread the drive home.

I don't know if you can see it here, but that is snow in the upper left hand corner, I have dusted the snow off the 2" of ice that was on my windshield

I swear, I am not complaining about the snow.  We desperately need it!  Plus, this is much gentler on the high-intensity burn areas that we have from our huge fire last year than rain would be.  I would still prefer to be at home knitting and crocheting, though!

These are the beginning of the knit bag that I am going to felt.  I have this color finished on this bag, and I have started with the second color.  I don't have a picture of the crochet bag yet, I will get twin pictures up here when I can.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Not much

Well, I don't have a ton to talk about today.  I did spend some time organizing some of my yarn - my apartment has already been taken over by it.  But every so often I go through and try to organize it so that it does not, in fact, take over everything.  I change my mind on how I think it will work best, and as I make more things and go through more yarn, naturally, I have more room.  So I am slowly working my way through the massive amounts of yarn that I have - it is both fun and I feel productive.

I think I am going to start a big project soon.  At least, a big project for me.  I want to make a cute baby blanket on relatively small needles.  I think I have the pattern I want to make, but I want to finish up a project or two more before I start on that.

So, contrary to what I said yesterday, I have been working today on a baby hat.  I wound the remainder of the skein up into a ball, and then realized that the way I had wound it gave me a bounce-around ball rather than a center pull ball, making it hard to take it to class and not be distracting.  So I am finishing it up before that and I will put another one on needles before class on Thursday.  I also did a couple of rows on the crochet bag that I am going to felt.  I will try to get some pictures up of the twin bags - the knit and the crochet, as soon as I get through the first 5" on both.  I am there on the knit bag, but single crochet takes forever!  But, I'm getting there.  I also need to finish the second of a pair of slippers for my sister.  They don't take long, I just got bored.  And I have had a fingerless glove on needles since before Christmas - I really need to finish that up and get the second one done.  It isn't a hard pattern - I think I avoid it because I have it on sharps and because I usually rest my needle against my chest, that can hurt.  Plus, my tight stitches require me to push against those sharp ends.  Oopsie!

I will leave it there for today.  Hopefully I will get a snow day tomorrow and have more time to get some fun stuff done!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Baby hats

Well, because I am temporarily taking a break from making baby hats until I finish a project or two for myself, I thought I would go ahead and show you the three that I have made so far.

Nothing too fancy, but they are nice and cute and simple.  They have a fair amount of stretch to them so that they will fit a wide variety of babies and will hopefully last a couple of months.  I have not gotten my consistency down completely, but it is mostly in size that that is happening, and I know it is happening because I am just not paying very close attention.  I don't think it's a huge deal at this point that the tails on top or the height of the beanie are exactly the same from one hat to the next.  These are all made from different brands and types of yarn, but I haven't decided if I have a favorite yet or not.

What I love about this pattern is how I have been able to work on it during class.  I figure even if I don't work on it the rest of the week, if I work on them during my 3 hour class I can almost get a complete one done a week.  I don't finish the hat off or get it onto DPNs (double point needles) until after class since that takes a tiny bit of thought.  But once I have the body done during class it doesn't take long at all to finish the hat off.  So, I will probably keep working that way, it is going well so far!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easter baby presents!

I decided that my niece needed some cute stuff for Easter a few weeks ago.  So rather than working on my thesis like I needed to, I made her a couple of hats and a new blanket!  Her mom is going to try to get her to wear the hats long enough for a picture in them, but currently she takes things off her head the second you put them on.  So, in the meantime, here is her summer sun hat and a cute blanket for her to play on.  The hat was too small for the mannequin head that I have, as it should be, given that it is for a little cute baby!

This blanket used some of the yarn called Bunny Tail.  Obviously I ran out of the yarn at the end - I was using a needle 1 size up from what the pattern called for, which is probably why I ran out.  In any case, I still like the blanket - it is super soft and cuddly for a super soft and cuddly niece!

I also made her a shell stitch hat with a flower on it, but I seem to have forgotten to get a picture of that before I took it down for her.  So, hopefully her momma can help us out and get her to stay put long enough for a picture.  Silly little girl!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Felting projects

Well, I completed a third baby hat last night!  Hooray!

I am going to take a break from those for a bit, I think, and make myself something.  I have only done one felting project so far - a draft stopper for my door.  It turned out alright, though I did shrink it too much.  So I am going to try again.  I need to finish a second draft stopper which I have already begun, but I am also going to work on a felted handbag for myself.  It is going to require me to pick up some stitches, which I haven't ever done, but what is the worst that can happen?  I have to tear out 6 rows?  Meh.

The door stopper is a super easy pattern.  This is what it looked like before I felted it.

That is a quarter on top of it so that you can get a sense for how long it was.  It is now shorter than the opening on my door, but again, that happened because of my inexperience.  I wont shrink the next one quite as much.  Plus, my front door is larger than average, so that doesn't help much. I will try to get a picture of the finished thing at some point here.  But I work it in the round, so I just continue knitting until it is time to change colors.  It is a good project for when I just want to keep my hands busy, though the changing colors is annoying.  I just need to suck it up and finish my second one so that I can just be done with them.

Because of how much 100% wool shrinks in a hot washer the item has to be made much, much larger than what you want the finished size to be.  So it is a lot of extra knitting, but then once it has shrunk/felted down it creates a slightly stiff material that does not show any of the stitches and no longer has even tiny holes that stitches create.  It certainly has its uses, and it is fun to watch it change!  

I think I am also going to start working on Christmas presents for next Christmas.  I know, I know, it's only April.  But I have 5 siblings, as well as many in-laws or nearly in-laws of my siblings.  So, even if I just make one gift per person I should have at least 13 gifts that I should be making - and that is if I only do a single project per person!  And that doesn't include friends and others!  So, starting in April really isn't that big a thing.  I think I am going to go with a general theme for the girls, at least, but I can't actually tell you what it is because some of them read this.  So, you'll just have to wait patiently until Christmas time!  By which time I am sure you will have forgotten, ha!  It will still be fun, though.

So many projects to do, so little time!  I wish I didn't have to work or go to school and could just knit until my heart is content.  Alas, stupid life.  I think I need myself an Italian sugar daddy!  Hahah.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I love my needle arts!

There are tons of things that I love about knitting and crocheting. I love seeing a project start at nothing and turn into something fun and cute.  I love seeing nice orderly stitches creating patterns out of nothing.  I love the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I have learned a new skill or when I have finished a project.  I love having people ask if I have made something and being amazed when I honestly say yes.

What I really love, though, is being able to knit or crochet anywhere, almost any time.  I have long dreamed of living outside of the US for a period of a number of years.  Whether or not that will ever actually happen, I'm not sure.  But, if it ever does, if I ever decide to go down that road, I will be able to knit and crochet wherever I am!  Though the world over has different types of yarn and different types of things they like to craft, it exists everywhere.  So as long as I take my needles and hooks, I will be set!

I have started on my third baby hat to send with my sister.  I am not getting them out crazy fast, but I think I started the first one last Tuesday or Wednesday, so that isn't half bad considering I haven't been doing this even a year.  When I have some more done I will get a picture up here of the various colors I will be making to send with her.  I am going with just plain but bright colors.

Lets throw some pictures of other projects in here, just for the heck of it!

This is my first personally designed pattern.  You can find the pattern for purchase here: Bedside Rug  There are some better pictures up there as well.  The scissors are there for comparison in size.  It isn't horribly fancy, but it is nice and fluffy and relatively simple!

I made some house slippers for myself, too.  They are nice and cozy and another easy pattern.  The yarn was multi-colored, I did not change colors for it, but I think they turned out well with that particular yarn and striping colors.  Now, if only I could figure out where I put them in my apartment so that I could wear them again.  Damn!

This is the back side of a washcloth that I made for my younger sister.  You can tell it is the backside because almost all of the stitches, except the cup itself, are little bumps.  That means they are purl stitches, and typically, though not always, purls indicate the backside of a work.  But, this is supposed to be the Tri-Wizard cup.  All four of the washcloths that I made for her had a Harry Potter theme.  26 or not, she loves her some Harry!  I figured by doing them in purple and brown, which most of her decor is in, they were subtle enough that most people wouldn't immediately notice, so she could use them as actual cloths rather than just decorations for herself.  She loved them.

Well, I think that is all I have for today.  I will work on getting together more pictures to post 'cause I have done lots since these projects that I have already shown.  In the meantime happy knitting or hookin'!

My inspiration

So, I have told you about why I started knitting and crocheting.  My newest niece was born last may.  And just so you fully understand the obsession that I am sure will show through in my posts here is a picture.

I admit - I am terribly biased.  But OMFG!  How could I not wanna make darling little cute things for that baby?!  I hate that I live over an hour away from her, it is absolutely not fair!  I want to squeeze the stuffing outta here and kiss her to pieces!

I can't think of anything else.  Her cuteness overwhelms me!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How on earth did I get so obsessed?

Welcome to all my new acquaintances from around the world!  I just figured out the community "stuff" and I have subscribed to a number of knitting and crocheting forums.  Lots of really nice and very creative people out there.  I am looking forward to future conversations with a large variety of new people.

Apparently I cannot knit up as much of a storm as I had hoped - we only got a dusting of snow here in Northern Colorado.  I'm not a huge fan of the snow, but I would rather have snow now than another High Park fire like last year!  Our fire season here has already started, I would like to keep putting that off as long as possible.

In more knitting/crocheting news I finished up yet another project yesterday and I have finished one of a pair of slippers that I am making for my sister.  When I have some time I will try to get those up here for your viewing pleasure!

Knitting and crocheting are often skills, as I pointed out in an earlier post, that is considered very old fashioned and grandmotherly.  I certainly had that idea in my mind.  Even when I started knitting I thought it would never be for things to wear myself other than perhaps a scarf.  Little did I know how many amazing patterns and options there are out there!  It has the tradition of being handed down from mother or grandmother to daughter or granddaughter.  I had no such luck.  My mother died when I was 21.  I only recently realized that my mother could crochet, and very well I might add, when it dawned on me that a blanket she had re-done years and years ago was fully crocheted.  I saw it down at my dad's the other day and it really is well done.  My grandmother lived across the country from me, and though I assume she knew how to knit and crochet, I am honestly not sure.  Even if she did, the distance would have been prohibitive in a lot of ways.  So, I decided to teach myself.

I started out by going to Michael's (a craft store) on one of my breaks from work.  I was wandering around and noticed that they had some free patterns hanging around the yarn section.  I grabbed a few of those, and one of the baby bootie patterns was what I began my knitting with.  I asked some poor stranger what kind of needles I should get, and honestly I haven't used the size 10 since.  I find that, currently anyway, I prefer a size 6 or 7 needle.

For the uninitiated in needle sizes the smaller the number the smaller the diameter of the needles.  In Europe, the UK, and Australia they all use millimeter indications, but the US likes to be weird and insist on numbers.  Apparently we can't handle the metric system, even in our knitting needles.  Crochet hooks work similarly; in the rest of the world they have a mm designation and in the US they are given a letter.  The smallest letter I have actually seen is an E.  Smaller than that, I believe, and they go to numbers.  The numbered ones are generally made of steel because they need the extra durability because of their small size.

The thickness of a yarn determines, generally, what size hook or needles you will use.  (Crochet uses a single hook.  Knitting uses two straight or a circular needle that are used together)  The thicker the yarn, the bigger the needle or hook.  I have made two afghans that used 4 balls of yarn at a time and size 50mm needles.  They are enormous.  The bigger the needles or hook, the bigger the stitch which often makes a project go faster because you are covering more area with each stitch.  I'm not sure I am explaining that really well, if not let me know and I will try to clarify!

Anyway, back to the story.  So, I got some free patterns and a free pamphlet on how to knit.  The pamphlet didn't help much - I needed someone to show me.  So I got online and went to knittinghelp.com.  As I have mentioned before, that website is brilliant and very good for beginners.  She shows each stitch clearly and slowly so that it is easy to follow along.  The first night I tried knitting it went all wonky.  I was talking to a friend and drinking, though.  So that might have had something to do with it.  The next day I picked up my needles and it just worked.  I understood what I was doing, though I was by no means quick, and I knew then that this would be something I would seriously enjoy.  And now, it takes up most of my free time!  Ha!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Knitting up a storm...literally

Well,  my knitting frenzy continues.  I think the incoming storm to Colorado might be a result of negative pressure from all of the knitting I have been catching up on!

I have finished at least three projects this weekend - one of which I started before Christmas.  It is fabulous to not feel terribly guilty for enjoying some free time, it is awesome!  I have started another baby hat for charity and I am going to continue trying to finish up older projects.

I have had some people ask me how I "taught myself" how to both knit and crochet in a week.  I found a couple of sources of info that were extremely helpful.  www.knittinghelp.com was awesome and has really close-up and detailed videos for learning how to knit and how to do a variety of different types of knitting.  I decided to go with continental knitting - she offers video's for both.  It just seemed easier to me than English knitting for my hands.

For crochet and some nice crochet patterns I watched videos on youtube from bobwilson123.  The lady there is very detailed and specific and she has a cute Australian accent, too!  The cow hat and the baby newsboy cap are both her patterns.  I do not do them justice, but I think I get better with every project I do. I find what works for me and begin to apply those new skills.  You can find her on Facebook if you wanna keep up with the various patterns she creates and then shares for free.  Really awesome!

So far I have written one pattern, and I have put it up on Ravelry.  It is called Bedside Rug - it is pretty simple but it is quite nice and fluffy.  I have a couple of other ideas that I want to finish working in my head and then I am going to try them out before setting them up on Rav.  I can't tell you what they are yet, but when I get it all worked out I will let you know!

I am also thinking about getting an Etsy shop set up for myself.  At the moment I do not have enough items that I want to sell, but I have a couple of patterns that I think might make for good things to sell come next fall/winter.  So, perhaps by that time I will be able to start something out on there, as well.  It wouldn't ever become my sole job, but I really do enjoy making these things and I think it would be fun to try and sell some of what I make.  At least, at the moment it sounds fun and interesting.  Any thoughts on what might sell well over there, or that you might like to see in an Etsy shop?  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Some more projects

Well, I wanted to add some more of my projects on here.  If anyone is interested in working on the same project, I am happy to link you to the place that I got the pattern.  Because they are not my own I wont share them on here, but I will be happy to send you directly to where I got them from.

Without further ado, these were my next few projects.  I quickly decided that, in part because of the fact that I have been broke for 2 years+ (I'm a graduate student) I would make items for everyone for Christmas.

I have a friend who is obsessed with everything cow related.  I found this pattern online and I knew it would be perfect for him.  I did change the eyes from the original pattern - these have more of an eyeball than the others did, and I liked them better.

My niece, who is now 10 months old, was the reason that I started to knit and crochet.  So many, many of the items that I have made have been for her.  This is a super simple but very cute hat.  This is crochet, like the cow above, and it worked up in probably less than an hour.

This is the eggplant/grape/other purple veggie/fruit hat.  I think it is cute for little ones!  I learned intarsia with this, a very simple version of it, but it wasn't hard and I am sure I could do more intricate patterns now that I know how to go about it.  This is also the pattern that I am using for the baby hats that I am going to send with my sister for Doctors Without Borders.  I am not going to use the two colors, mostly because those types of things that we think are cute often don't translate across continents.  So I am just doing nice, bright, little hats in the same pattern, but a single solid color.  It is something super simple that I can do without looking, until the top portion of the hat, but it keeps little baby heads warm!

This hat is a little newsboy cap that I made for a very good friend of mine for his 2 year old son.  Super duper cute little newsboy cap.  I was very happy with how it turned out.  The one I made for my brother wasn't quite as fabulous, I am not sure what I did wrong with that.  But this one was just super sweet.

I'm not positive if you can see this one clearly or not.  This is a washcloth with a Harry Potter Sorting Hat on it.  It is made by using purl stitches to make the hat stand out against all of the knit stitches.  It wasn't perfect, but I learned a LOT - from reading charts, to how to work stockinette stitch on a flat item, to seed stitch, and a variety of other things.  I made three other washclothes, with different objects on them, and the rest after this turned out much better because I had learned from my earlier mistakes.

This hat I made for the 5 year old brother of the 2 year old of my good friend.  I spent a really long time on this.  You can't tell from this picture, but the face of Thomas comes out from the hat itself by about 1/2 an inch.  This little boy absolutely adores Thomas the Tank Engine, and when I found this pattern I knew it would be perfect.  He was so, so happy with it.  He wants to wear it to school, but isn't allowed to because his dad is afraid he'll lose it.  But, little guy loves to wear it.

I have a 15 year old nephew who I began teaching how to crochet while we were out of state for a family member's wedding.  He asked if I could make him something and he asked for a tie in colors similar to this.  I said I could see what I could do.  This was actually really difficult because of the color changes.  Each time I changed color I had to get that end to be hidden away, which is difficult on a tie that doesn't have an actual front or back side to it.  In the end I got more than enough length for the front side of the tie in these three colors, then finished off the rest of it in just black.  So around the collar and the skinny part of the tie are all black, but it gives it a cool look to see a pure black knot on top of this multi-colored tie.  My nephew was really happy with it, and that is all I need.

This was still a work in progress when I took this picture.  This went to the momma of my new niece.  It is an infinity scarf that has no beginning or end and kind of curls around on itself.  I really liked the colors in this yarn, very bright and fun.  This is only about half, or less, of the finished width, but it is a very very simple pattern.  I plan to make more of these types of scarves at some point.

And finally for today, I decided that my niece needed some little Santa booties.  I made her a Santa hat, too, that didn't turn out how I wanted it to.  But these booties and the hat, both, would be cute for any little one.  Fairly quick and fun!

I will stop there for today.  If you haven't noticed I tend to have more items that are crocheted than knitted.  Crochet allows for more versatility in the items that I have been interested in making so far.  I am sure that as I become a better and faster knitter that I will use that more often.  But when making appliques (such as the Thomas face and the cow features) it is infinitely easier to crochet those than to try to knit them.  That is why most, not all, but most knitters have at least some basic crochet ability, too.  If you want a flower to put on an item it is much less time consuming to crochet one than it would be to knit one.  It also tends to be more forgiving than knitting.

That being said, I really want to be an amazing knitter.  I will continue to work on crochet, but I will also work on my knitting as well.  I don't have a favorite, though I do find crochet easier in a lot of cases.  I want to be really good at both, and so I continue to make things in both.  Plus, by having both skills when people ask me for an item I have a better chance of being able to say yes, I can make that.  It has been a lot of fun learning these skills - even if my family does make fun of me for being a 95 year old grandma.  They say that until they want me to make then something!  Ha!