Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Knitting Bag/Bag V1.0

I finished my bag prototype! Yay! This bag was mainly made so I could test out a pattern I saw online. I didn't follow the pattern, just took it as inspiration really. I definitely see room for improvement, so we'll call this Mindy's bag v1.0. I have included several photos of both the progress and the finished product.

The outside

The inside lining

The outside fabric (goldish material) is something my mother picked out and asked me to sew her larger, reusable grocery totes with it. It's heavy, almost an upholestry thickness. The cute blue planet fabric on the inside is just a cotton that I had a half yard of or so hanging out from one of the remnant bags I got. I literally had JUST enough for the lining, and enough scraps to barely fill my hand (and I have v. small hands). The handles are the goldish fabric again, backed with black fleece for stability AND strength. Plus it's comfy to hold.

Stuffed with knitting projects. Note: you can turn the handles down to the sides for better access.

All done, view of the lining.

The finished product is about 9" wide laying flat and the actual bag portion is about 12" deep. It's bigger then I was intending to go with for my first prototype, but big enough for a medium sized knitting project or even two or three smaller ones. I fit two adult sized hats on the needles plus the skeins of yarn attached to them, in the bag without any problem and still had a little room left over.

Honestly, I like it, but I don't know how long I'm going to hold on to it. I may try to trade it on Ravelry for something else, because I'm going to be making many of these while I develop a good bag pattern. We'll see. Either way, for a first attempt, I'm very happy with it! :) As for the hats that were stuffed inside.. I'm ALMOST done. I am planning on cleaning up some sewing mess and then finishing up one hat before the night is over. It is doable, and needs to be done, because I have a lot of projects ready to go.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Charity Hats

Made some more progress on my charity hats. It's almost to the start of the crown decreases and even though I've had to frog this first hat TWICE, it's knitting up super fast. Hats: instant gratification. I wanted to do a few more for the local homeless shelter, but have signed up to do chemo hats for one of my online groups (on Ravelry!) and am kind of anxious to start on those. I have a few other WIPs or things I'm waiting on yarn for to start.. but making hats and charity knitting in general is always a good thing. Not only am I having fun knitting, but someone will enjoy what I'm doing. Anyway! Some WIP pictures on my first hat.

Last night...

This morning, added in a second color during the football game (go Vikes!)

I also got a package from my parents yesteryay. The most anticipated package in the history of the world, I'm sure, as it was TEN DAYS LATE. Thanks, Fedex. It was full of fabric and remnants and fun little extras, as well as a quilt that I'm 90% finished with. I am literally 6" of fabric on the bottom away from having both the front and back finished, with two sides already sewed together. I don't know what the hell I'm going to fill it with, maybe just quilt batting from the LQS, as I don't have any on hand.. but then I'm going to have to quilt it myself, argh. I also got stuff from the parents to make them some reusable grocery bags. It's absolutely hideous fabric, but should make some decently strong bags.. so that's also on the slate to start and finish.

Today I ventured outside, and it's worth noting, because it's the first time I drove anywhere in almost two full weeks. The streets are actually pretty clear and I shouldn't have any problem getting to work tomorrow (we'll see). This week is only four days of work, but the first three will be steeped in overtime, because I have a metric ton of work to do. Next week I took vacation because Julie will be coming (yay! I'm so, so SO excited) so I'm only working on Monday. It looks like I'll have plenty of time to knit and sew and get some stuff done. It's a good thing too, as I just bought 15 or so skeins of Patons SWS on sale today at Michaels (for $1.50 a piece, holy crap!).

Kira.. she was being feisty.

Friday, December 26, 2008

FO: Convertible Gloves & Snowmen

Finished! Finally! Yesterday after cooking all day, I decided that it was time to finish these gloves once and for all. I love them, and will be sad to send them away, but they've been such a giant pain that I'm not too sad, y'know? After frogging back and reknitting and having yarn issues (thanks to the dog).. ugh. Add this to the pile of stuff I have to send out next week. That is, if I can make it to the stupid post office. I'm on day 9 of being snowed in. We have ventured outside, but it was awful and I ended up a blithering mess of anxiety because the roads are so terrible. ANYWAY.. on with the photos!

Yay! Done! On another note, I love.love.LOVE this yarn, it's from a local farm called Alpacas of Misty Ridge and incredibly soft and warm and a dream to work with. I usually venture over there once every year, so I might pick some more up. For one skein, about 300yds, it was $24, but well worth every penny. I have enough left over that I think I'm going to try to make a "matching" headband (panta-style). Maybe. I'm considering it.

What I'm working on now is finishing up some hats for a local homeless shelter. I've been trying to find one for the past month, but it's a lot more difficult then it should be, IMO. I've asked some local knitting groups if they know of any, so hopefully I can get a lead from there. In the meantime I'm knitting the hats because it's cold outside and whenever I do finally get around to finding an organization to give them to, I know they'll be put to good use. I'm about 25% done with my first hat, which I just started working on last night. I don't have a good WIP picture yet, but I'll try to take one today. I'm just working it in 4X4 ribs and will crown decrease on the pearl sections when I get there. I've never tried a pattern like that before, so we'll see how it works out.

In the past week and a half we've gotten about two feet of snow, so yesterday we decided to go in the backyard and make a snowman! So Happy Holidays to everyone, enjoy our snowman. :) In the meantime I'm going to make some lunch and keep on knitting. It's good knitting weather and I have lots of good movies to watch. Later!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Puppy Bed and Mitten Update

Just wanted to do a small update with some progress shots. I've been expecting a large package from my mother for the past few days now, filled to the brim with fabric, remnant bags and an almost completed quilt top that I started making when I was 18 and abandoned when I moved out a few months later. Unfortunately, due to the insane and record breaking snow storms we've been having here in the Seattle area, I'm stuck waiting.. and waiting.. and waiting some more. I've been completely demotivated to do anything because I've been so hyped about getting this package. Ugh! Especially because I haven't worked or even left the house at all since Wednesday. It's been that bad. Most of the past few days have been spent like this. Next to the fire watching TV. Can't complain too much about that!

I was finishing up the pair of gloves I wrote about in the last entry (they are for my mom), but was so unsatisfied with part of them that I frogged about 1/4 of the whole project and am redoing it. I like the result this time around.. it fits much better and looks much better. They're not going to be perfect, and honestly, I've had to come to terms with my perfectionist ways when it comes to crafting. There is ALWAYS going to be something I could have done better or different, you know? Beside, if people wanted identicle perfectly shaped and perfectly made items they'd buy them from a mass-produced store. Handmade IS handmade.
Some photos of the progress after frogging it.

I thought I would share some photos of a finished object I did about two weeks ago. I bought a metric ton of fleece (okay more like 12 of so yards) during a big sale at my local fabric store and some of that was allocated to making my puppy a soft little bed. The funniest and best part about making it was that she knew the whole time I was making it that it was for her. I had to hand stitch the last little part of it closed and as I was doing it, she was laying on it. Wouldn't even let me finish! Anyway, she LOVES IT and will lay in it all day and all night long. It's made completely out of fleece, both the inner part and the outer "tube" are fleece stuffed with a polyfill stuffing. At the time I made it, the inner part (the laying part) was about 16" across, but it has stretched out a little with use and now is about 18" across in the laying area.

An action shot. I actually just trying to take pictures of it and she HAD TO lay down in it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Alpaca yarn is smelly...

No finished products to show off this time. That doesn't mean I haven't been working hard. I've been cranking out some convertible mitts for my mom all this week (I finished one in April and then forgot about the project). The mittens themselves are gorgeous. They're made from my own pattern (woo!) in this beautiful, BEAUTIFUL alpaca wool that I bought from a local farm. It's super soft, not itchy, and amazing. The problem is that since it's real (and fresh) alpaca wool that hasn't been processed or anything.. it smells yummy. To dogs, that is.

The mitts in question, see how close I was to being done?!

It smells like an alpaca, and last night as I was mere minutes (okay about 30 minutes) from finishing I took a break and the dog broke into my room and decided to take my beautiful ball of alpaca wool and do this to it.

It ended up taking both my husband and myself the rest of the night, about six hours, to untangle this mess. I lost a good amount of yarn (maybe 3-5 yds) of stuff that had to be cut off of it, and instead of being connected in one big ball, I have NINE small balls of yarn. I'm angry about it, because she's done this before (only with this yarn), and it made me lose a lot of time that could have been spent working on other things. I'm trying to get my Etsy store up and running with some new items.. but issues like this happening are not helping.

In other news, I cast on (to my beautiful Addi turbos, mmmm) my most hated yarn ever. I promised some hats and scarves to some local homeless charities (it's cold out!), and I have a ton of this yarn in my stash that I will never, ever use because I hate it. It's warm and comfortable, I just dislike working with it.. but I figured I can suck it up for the cause.

And last but not least.. when I sell handmade stuff or even swap with people, I always tell them that I'm from a household (smoke free) with animals. Cats and dogs. All of my crafting items are stored in a room by themselves, in these nifty little cabinets, but that sometimes no matter what I do there will be hair on them. This picture was taken by my husband last night when I was asleep and I think it's the perfect example of my point. She somehow got into the room and was sleeping on a bin of fabric. Sigh. Stella.

Hopefully I'll be able to update sometime later this week with some finished products.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Knitting Needle Roll

Wow, okay, so I haven't posted in a long, long time. I've made lots of stuff the past few years, but haven't felt like documenting any of it (I fail at blogging, I guess). But my husband recently bought me a sewing machine and I've been sewing up a storm. I feel the need to show off my most recent FO, because I'm very proud of it and happy with the results.

It took me from the first cut of fabric until it was finished about a total of 8 hours. Three of those hours were spent ripping seams that I accidentally sewed, but who is counting, right? I loosely used the pattern that can be found here: http://alexandrasknits.blogspot.com/2006/01/tutorial-alexandras-needle-case.html, but made a fair amount of variations on it. The pattern itself was the best I found and was SUPER easy to follow (a definite plus for someone who is really rusty with their sewing machine skills, or just starting out), so I'm very thankful for that. The fabric itself all came from JoAnn online and was on super sale for only $1.99/yard (down from $4.99-$6.99/yard), and I like it a lot. Very easy to use, doesn't shred or pull or anything.. it was all around a great project. If I ever do make another one of these, I'm definitely going to make the flap a bit longer, it's too short IMO, the pattern calls for 6", but I would recommend making it 7-8" to guarantee coverage on that second row.

Anyway, here are some pictures, enjoy! :)

Piecing it together...

Almost there, finishing up the inside.

The outside, finished.

Close up of the outside edge

Closeup of the inside, flap and stitching

The inside of it, finished, woo!

All rolled up...

Putting the needles in..

And of course Kira wants to try to help..