Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today is the Youngest's 3rd Bday!
Unfortunately, his bday falls at a very poor time of year. Everyone is partied out, or has a party already planned. So, we're having an intimate party this year. He personally requested Scooby Doo cupcakes as his birthday cake this year. Yeah! I like this idea. It's a heck of a lot easier than me having to get out a fancy cake pan and Icing tips and doing a big huge colossally awful tasting cake.
Here's a close up for all you Scooby fans:
He wanted orange colored cream cheese frosting on a marbled cupcake too. Which actually works with the whole Hippy/Psychedelic Scooby color scheme, don't ya think?
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I took it with me to my Mom's place over the holidays and worked on it when I had time. I'm currently knitting the yoke section that goes over the chest and around both arms and back. It looks like a scarf at the moment, one that curls and drives you nuts because of the curling. See?
It looks much better uncurled:
I was hoping that I could tell you that this section is finished, but, I have one and a half repeats to go on it. Not sure why I'm so slow with cables. I can fly with lace and stockinette and garter, so why not with cables? I'm not using a cable needle, so that's a bit faster than if I was using one. Is it because I'm having to look at my directions so often? If anyone has any tips on going faster with cables, I'd appreciate the advice. Maybe with Christmas over it'll go a little faster. yeah, right.
I'm way tickled about my new camera. I can finally take a decent picture with things that are red. This the first time I've been able to take a pic of this project and have it show up the way it is in real life. By the way, this is a Knit Picks yarn, Wool of the Andes, in the color Iron Ore. Beautiful red.
Monday, December 29, 2008
But! Over the holidays, while Santa was being good to me, I discovered that my Mother is a truly evil woman.
Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I told her that I wanted her help to make a duct tape dress form. She went through with it and it took us over two hours to make the damn thing with me barely breathing in it and not able to sit down at all and at the end, having to be cut out of it by my hubby cause she couldn't do it herself.
Why was that so evil? Because she had this hidden in her closet just waiting to give it to me for Christmas!A vintage/antique adjustable dress form! Two hours of torture when she could have said she had a headache or a toothache or needed to wash her ping pong balls or some other white lie that would have worked just fine. And yes, just to let you know, she'll be reading this little diatribe and it'll be good for her too.
Oh well, it was still fun to make the dress form out of duct tape. And how cool is this new/old dress form? Took me forever to get it set to my measurements. I haven't done the height just yet, but that's okay, the Youngest likes it set to his height. He's been talking to it since it came home.
We've named her Endora after the Mom in the old TV show Bewitched. She now reigns supreme in the corner of the dining room/office/craftroom.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
1. Get a blank platter or tray - a fairly large rectangle shape.
2. Coat their hands in green paint, then place them on the surface with the base of their hands facing each other and the tips of the fingers spread out.
3. Start at the bottom with the older children's hands. then have the smallest hand print on the top. Good luck with the smaller children, it took a small army to help me get the Youngest's handprints on the plate.
4. Next, fill in the top of the tree with green to fill out your Christmas tree shape. Simple squiggles will do. There's no need for perfection, Go for the Folk Art look.
5. Add garland, ornaments and star. Feel free to change the colors!
6. Then write Merry Christmas across the top and add your year.
7. I added a coat of clear sealant to protect it after it was dry.
Simple and Guaranteed to impress the Grandparents!
See, my brother and I have an unspoken contest every year. the one that can get Mom all choked up and crying (she's very sentimental) over their gift, wins. Guess who's going to win this year? She does love her grandboys! :)
Monday, December 22, 2008
Right after Thanksgiving, I got a package from a wonderful lady that I met through Ravelry. She was giving away some of her Corriedale fleece. She sent me three pounds!
I finally got around to doing something with it. I was surprised how well it had been skirted. There were no tags (poop) at all, just the normal dirt that a sheep collects in the year between shearings. So, no poop, but lots of dirt.
Here's a pic of some of it:
This time, I decided to use my washing machine to do the cleaning. I didn't want the sink or tub filled with dirty sheep since there were children to bathe and feed, so the washing machine was the best alternative.
Here's how I did it:
I filled the machine with hot water and then turned it off. Then, I added Dawn dish-washing detergent to it. I did not measure the amount, just did two long squirts until the water was tinted a light blue. I prefer Dawn to the commercial fleece cleaners. I like the smell and it gets all of the grease and dirt out quick. Next, I added half of the fleece.
Some of the fleece, I separated it out lock by lock and put them inside lingerie bags to preserve the lock formation. As an experiment, I put some of the fleece in "as is" just to see how it would do.
Here's a pic of it soaking.
At this point, the hubby complained about how the house smelled like a beauty salon. That's better than the barn smell that I expected him to complain about!
I let it soak for 20 minutes, then set the washer to spin cycle and let it do it's thing. I did this step twice. Did I mention that this fleece was dirty? Check out the inside of the machine after the first soak:
On the rinse step, I filled the machine again and then added a couple of teaspoons or so of Odor-ban to the water, mainly to help get rid of the smell of wet sheep. Yes, it's safe for fiber as long as you only use a tiny bit. It's concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
Check out the difference between each step:
It turned out so soft and lovely! I didn't see enough of a difference in how everything turned out. Not enough to spend the time separating the locks out in the future. This method did very well.
I'm planning on combing it out and pulling it into roving, then I'm going to dye it up. I haven't a clue as yet what color it will be, but that's a decision that can wait until after Christmas Holidays.
Now I desperately need a drum carder. I really don't want to card three pounds of fluff on my tiny dog slicker brushes. I have got to figure out what I can sell around the house that would bring in enough cash to get one. How's the market on selling husbands? :)
Friday, December 19, 2008
Several years ago, before the book came out, we took a trip to NY with Carol and her hubby and she told us about the elf tradition then and how they had always done this for their three children.
The elf shows up the day after Thanksgiving and finds a spot to sit and watch how the kids behave. At the end of the day, he/she reports back to Santa. On the following day, the elf finds a different spot to sit. This continues until Christmas day when it goes back to the North Pole until the next Thanksgiving comes around.
Well, I've been doing this since that trip to NY. I found an antique elf to use at first and then switched to the new one when the book came out. It's so much fun! The kids have a fantastic time hunting for it every morning and can get quite obsessive (and competitive) about it.
It also promotes better behavior and that's always a plus in my book!
So, if you can go to Carol's website and check it out. You can also order the book from Amazon and other sites.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
My last two projects are the Nativity Set and the hat for my friend.
I've finished the hat (seen here modeled by Folgers):
This is the third Jaunty Cap that I've made. I absolutely love this pattern and I think this one turned out very masculine. It's blocking as I write on the same Folgers container.
I finished a bunch of the nativity set last night and I've only the animals to do now. This is a huge project that takes a while to complete. There are a lot of pieces and each piece is very detailed, so it will take me another couple of days to complete.
Let's hope I get over this cold really quick. All I want to do is go to bed and sleep.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Here's how they look:
This should have been a relatively easy, simple and enjoyable project. The keys words there are "should have been" for those of you watching on television. It's an easy pattern, great concept, few supplies needed, so why the "should have been"?
First, my sewing machine desperately needs a tuneup.
Second, the tension somehow got off and the sewing thread kept getting caught in the bobbin doohickey thingy and would stick and then the project would be pinned to the machine by both thread and needle.
Third, I had to replace the bulb on my sewing machine and that seemed to require a Rocket Science Degree from Princeton or wherever you get one of those degrees.
Anyway, that's enough numbers, let's talk about the project.
Here's some tips for making this project a little easier on the next person to make this:
1. If you decide (like I did) to enlarge the size of the pattern, do so by more than one inch on all the numbers. Obviously, I did not do well in geometry in school. By adding that one inch to all the numbers, it somehow threw off the ratios and I ended up having to cut some of the pieces down to make the puzzle all fit. In summation, math are hard and I shouldn't be doing it.
2. Add interfacing to your fabric pieces to add more durability to your project.
3. Ironing tip - I turned the steam off to put the interfacing on and I also put a paper towel in between the iron and fabric. I can't tell you how many times in the past that I have used interfacing and an iron and had all sorts of sticky gunk left on the iron from it. The paper towel prevented all that gunk getting on the iron.
4. Instead of rice, I used the one pound bags of pony/crafting beads that you get from any craft store. This added more color and makes it a bit more complicated to find all the lovely stuff you've put in the bag.
5. Buttons! Buttons make great things to put in it. I picked up these little packs of colorful buttons at Michael's that had themes to them - Wizardry, Rescue Vehicles, Zoo, Vacation, Safari, Dress Up, etc. Makes gathering some of the little stuff easier and if a child is into a particular subject, you can get a bunch of stuff for less money this way.
6. Hand sew the ribbon that holds the card into the inside seam of the bag before you stuff it and sew it back up. Also make sure that you put a warning on the card not to carry it by the ribbon. There's no way that tiny ribbon will be there for long if a kid picks it up by it and runs around with it. That being said, I'm sure that's what my kids will do to it. :)
Obviously, the cards are not attached yet. I need to print them out and get them laminated first. When I do, I will turn that long ribbon into a loop to hold the cards on, so they won't be quite as long as what is in the pictures above.
All in all, this was a fun project and if I ever get my machine tuned up, I'll be making this again! Thanks so much to Angie for setting up the tutorial on the Find It Bag Games!
Monday, December 15, 2008
I had it finished, but wasn't quite happy with the way the brim was going. So, I couldn't find the end where I had woven it in because of the damned tweed - everything looked like an end. Out came my trusty little baby fingernail clippers that I keep in my knitting bag and I clipped what I thought was the end. Um, it wasn't. Not by a mile.
I ended up with a QUARTER size hole in the front of the hat! I mended it as best I could, and if you don't look very closely, it's fine. In my opinion though, this can no longer be given as a gift. Damn again.
I couldn't get a good pic of where it was fixed, but here it is unblocked and being modeled by the Eldest:
After looking at it, I think I'll make another Jaunty hat instead. I know it's unblocked and not in it's proper shape, but I just don't think I like it quite enough to make another.
Oh, and this time when I make it, I'm going to hold a strand of black yarn in with the gray tweed. The color needs more depth I'm thinking.
Here I am already in a crafting crunch that was going very well, and then this had to happen. Ack!
Friday, December 12, 2008
But! All better now. I hope.
When a friend of mine requested a hat, I'm pretty sure he had no idea he would actually be getting it. I cast on two days ago and here's the results so far:
Have you ever noticed that when you try to take a picture of any woolly object, the cat comes out of the woodwork to help? Not the dogs, the cats. Why? What causes this? It's not like they're interested in helping, just supervising.
I tried to get her to smile in this one, but she wasn't having any of that "nonsense".
What can I say? She (along with the hubby) is a scrooge. Did I tell you that I got a whole lecture about how I shouldn't spend money on presents? That I spent too much on the kids and that he didn't want any presents himself 'cause we don't have any money? He does this every year. We've been married twelve years and I have gotten similar speeches every single year. Now wouldn't he be disappointed if Santa didn't bring him anything to unwrap this year!
Like I said, What a Scrooge.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I packed the kids off to school and then hunkered down with a whole pile of beads and chains and these are the results:
First (and my favorite) is the BFF's necklace:
Second and Third: Bracelets for the Eldest's Teachers:
Fourth and Fifth: Bracelets for the Youngest's teachers. These two ladies actually deserve real gold for what they've had to put up with. But since I can't afford it, this will have to do.
Sorry for the blur in the last two. My camera hates me. But that's okay, it's being replaced on Christmas day. (A little Elf told me.)
Monday, December 08, 2008
First, the Zara Cabled Tunic:
This project is taking an eternity to knit. This pattern is not for the faint of heart. Really, I'm not kidding. There are a quadrillion cables to work through and it becomes quite tedious at time. Oh, and the gauge/pattern issues are not so good either. I'm working on it, albeit slowly. I have finished one whole sleeve:
In order to combat boredom (since for all intents and purposes is the third sleeve I've completed even if it is the only one I haven't frogged) I'm going to work on the Horizontal yoke section next. I'll get back to the other sleeve later when I have the stomach for it.
Edited to Add: I forgot to mention that the wrist pain that this project was causing me has been greatly reduced by finding a new way to hold/tension my yarn. I'll try and demonstrate it soon.
Second, The Thermal Vest:
This has also become tedious. Waffle stitch, even if it is done in dk weight instead of fingering, is still boring. The color is killing me now too. Winter is not the time to work with dark gray. However, the alpaca is so soft! This is coming along fairly well now, thanks to school car pool line knitting. I'll be sitting around on every monday night during my son's basketball practices from now until March, so I'm expecting this project to really take off (although I really shouldn't jinx myself by saying that.)
The good news is that a friend of mine has requested a hat, so before Christmas, that will have to get done. That means, whichever of the two projects above are bugging me most will be put down very soon. I suppose that's good news.
The bad news is that I've got Rogue waiting in the wings, but can't start it until one of these two big projects is finished. sigh.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Project: Booga Bag
Needles Used: Size 6 circs.
Yarn: Cascade 220 (black and turquoise), Noro Kureyon (184, 209)
Cast on 50 instead of the 34 recommended. Unknown number of rows completed. Basically I went until the bag looked in proportion.
Used two different types of Noro that compliment each other. Also using some black cascade 220 and some turquoise cascade 220. Used the turquoise for the handles because I only had a tiny bit of Noro left.
Used grommets for the holes where the handles feed through. Please remind me not to use grommets again on the next one of these I make. Grommets and I do not mix well. I think I wasted about 10 grommets on this project. I used the little kit with the plier type tool. I think I would have been better off with a hammer and tap tool. I do think that the grommets give it a classier look though.
To give you an idea of the size of the bag, and since I don't have dimensions handy, it's a larger purse size. I stuffed four skeins of yarn and a partial knitted project into this and everything fits perfect. I could probably get a fifth skein into it with no problems.
This is a simple, fun project to do and as long as I stay way from the grommets, I plan on making more of these again later.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I found these in a Salvation Army Thrift Store and got them for a quarter a piece. It's
Workbasket and Home Arts Magazine. This was the first magazine that targeted crafters. It is so awesome. I can't tell you how thrilled I was/am to find these. I had never heard of this magazine before. The publication ran from 1935 to sometime in the 1990's. The ones that I have ran from 1965 to 1984 and I do not have all of them from those years. The 1970s are predominate in this stack. Which is actually pretty good for a laugh. Check this one out:
Oh Yes, your eyes do not mislead you on this one. That is indeed a very long Granny Square skirt. First, I can't imagine how drafty that would be and Second, what would you do for undergarments? Also, if you absolutely had to have a granny square skirt, wouldn't it be much cuter as a mini-skirt?
Besides the occasional laugh from horrible fashion, these little mags are priceless. They have patterns for knitting, crochet, needlepoint, embroidery, cross stitch, even tatting! They also have recipes and how-tos on plants.
Can you believe the shopping weekend that I had? It's taken me all week to tell you about it.
The other thrift store finds? I scored a lambskin leather skirt (feels like buttah) for $6.99. Sweet huh?
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
It's been felted and is drying now. Hopefully, barring any delays in my life with potty training, I'll be able to show you a finished project tomorrow.
Here's the cute little thing that is not allowing me to accomplish much of anything for the past few days:
I promise to be away from kiddie stuff and back on to the knitting stuff as soon as humanly possible. :)
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
The tag said "String Holder". I have no idea what the official name is for one of these, so if anyone knows, please leave me a comment! Basically, you put the ball (small one) of yarn or string or crochet thread in the center and feed the end up through the hole in the top. It keeps the ball from rolling around the room as you knit or crochet. You could actually have several colors in it theoretically, as long as they are small.
I was so excited to find this thing. It was totally a fluke, too, as I wasn't even remotely looking for something like this. Very cool. Oh, and I got it for $19.95 too. I would have paid more for it, it's such a neat item, so I was happy to pay that price.
Please forgive the lateness of this post. We're in fully potty training mode at the House Of Shea. Over the Thanksgiving Holiday the Youngest decided he was ready and that was that. On the one hand - Woohoo! On the other - running to the potty every two seconds really sucks the big one. Pray for me, I need all the help I can get!
Monday, December 01, 2008
But, before I left for the holiday, I got another case of start-itis. This, in turn, caused me to pick up some Noro out of the stash and sling it on the needles. So, I now have an in-progress Booga Bag:
I've modified it somewhat. I want a bag that's a bit bigger than the pattern calls for, so I cast on 50 stitches instead of the recommended 34. This picture was taken in poor lighting and wrong side out and just does not do it justice. The colors are fantastic. When it's closer to finished I'll get a better pic for you.
When we got to my folks' place, my mucho talented Mom had this to show me:
This is an incredibly soft black stole that she purchased and then needle felted the design on. It's not completely finished, but it's close. This is such an elegant stole and would look incredible with evening wear. She took a stencil that she found from JoAnn Fabrics and marked the design on the fabric. Then she laid down wool yarn on the design and needle felted it into the stole. So simple!
When I got back, this was at my door:
Three pounds of Corriedale fleece (still in the grease.) It's very smelly and needs lots of washes, but is very nice. What makes it even nicer is that it came free from Colorado! All I had to pay was shipping. Can you believe it?
More about the holiday to come!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
I'm still knitting, but the pics don't look that much different than I showed you last time. Dividing my time between the two sweaters is not helping progress.
The waffle stitch vest is just tedious, but the Zara Cabled Pullover is something else.
It's quite complicated. I'm doing the cables without a cable needle which is indeed faster, but the pattern can be a little daunting. It's extremely easy to get lost if you don't have a good method of marking it. For those of you planning on making it, perhaps my method of doing this will help you.
I would encourage anyone making this to make good use of a pencil. Let me give an example of how I'm doing it. I'll explain it first and then show you a diagram after. Due to copyright stuff, I'll only show you a part of the pattern, enough to make my point.
I started with the sleeve portion (I dread starting the second on, by the way) to make sure my gauge was right without investing too much time in the project (yeah, right).
There are several places where I am having to place tick marks currently.
1. Small cable
- The pattern is only four rows long. So I place a tick mark as I finish each row. However, I group the tick marks in fours so I can just glance down at the sheet to know which one to do next.
- The tick marks are done in this section not to know which row I'm on specifically, but to know which part of the stitch pattern to do next.
2. Large cable - I group these by fives to make counting where I am (which row #)in the pattern easier. ( See above.)
Separate marks are placed by each group below on the pattern.
- Sleeve row a (where a denotes rows 1-58)
- Sleeve row b (where b denotes rows 59 - 85)
- Sleeve row c (where c denotes 86-108)
- Sleeve row d (where d denotes 109-137)
I told you it was complicated. But if you don't mark the pattern somehow? Oh Boy.
I hope this helps someone else with this pattern. Just know that there is always madness in my methods! :)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This was a project that began in the summer and is still dragging on, mainly because my husband refuses to help me with it. But that's okay. It's my project and I'll have to do the work and I can do it in my own time. If he was helping he would demand that we get it all finished in a weekend. Doing it this way, I can do a little here and a little there as time permits. Well, today it permitted.
I've already gotten the two layers of wallpaper that I'm going to do off. So today I sanded and patched up the rough spots, getting ready for a coat of primer.
But. I ran into a major (for me) snag. See the crap below the outlet in the pic? That's where a rubbery caulking has been laid over the wallpaper. I cannot get this out. This is a place where the hubby is going to have to get up off his bum and help me.
Our 5 in 1 tool has walked off and that left me to cobble together a bunch of useless tools to get this job done. It didn't work of course. I used a flathead screwdriver, box cutters and this wicked looking saw thing that I found in the drywall supplies in the garage. Nope. I really needed the 5 in 1.
I spent most of my day sanding and trying to pick out nasty caulk. yuck. Then I wiped everything down and started spackling. I think I dropped more on the floor than I got pushed into the small holes in the walls.
See that nasty blue counter? We're planning on getting rid of it too, but it will be a while before it goes.
I'm pooped now. Might go knit, might go fall into the bed. We'll see what happens first once the kiddies are sent off to bed. Whew!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I might have let my van take me to the yarn shop today. And I might have unzipped my purse and let my wallet jump out while I was there.
Look what came home with me:
And this dove headlong into the shopping bag as well:
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Pattern: EZ's Mitered Mittens
Author: Elizabeth Zimmerman
Book: Knitter's Almanac
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #270
Needles: Size 6 circular
Cast on 40 sts. instead of the recommended 48 (for a size women’s small) on two circs. instead of dpns.
It's very simple to convert this pattern from using dpns to circs. I you don’t know how, here's how I did it:
First, split your cast on stitches between two circs. Then, On one circ. do the part where EZ says needle 1 and then follow that immediately with the needle 2 section of the pattern (do all of this on the same circular needle). Repeat the whole process that was done on the first needle for the second circ. Then follow up with the knit for one round of the pattern.
- 5 rows of garter stitch instead of ribbing.
- Did 17 rows of pattern before beginning gusset.
- Gusset Section:
- Used instructions for the gusset from http://www.kathrynivy.com.
- Increased to 14 gusset sts. instead of 15.
- After Gussett:
- Stopped when 12 sts. remained to reduce the pointy-ness of the fingertips.
- Picked up two stitches where thumb meets the palm. 16 gusset sts total.
Next time instead of doing M1s in the pattern, I’ll do kfbl to eliminate the holes that the m1 makes. They bug me no end.
Monday, November 17, 2008
First, we were baby sitting my parent's dog, Minnie Pearl. I caught her sound asleep with a toy in her mouth:
And if that wasn't enough, look who I caught trying to spin yarn:
He was honestly trying to get the roving attached so that he could work the pedals and make yarn like Mommy. It was so freakin' cute.
And here's the new project that jumped on the needles this weekend:
This is just the first half of the Mitered Mittens. I'll hopefully have the other half finished (I've probably just jinxed myself) by tomorrow and can give you all the details then.