Thursday, January 29, 2009

Toe Covers, Finished!

I finally finished all seven of the toe covers (for casts), for my MIL. Yay! I actually finished yesterday and sent them out today Priority, so hopefully she gets them in the next few days. We sent her some beautiful purple flowers earlier this week and she got them on Monday or Tuesday, and said she loved them... so that's good. Each of these toe covers were double stranded worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles, so they're thick and warm. Also, each took up 90 yards of yarn due to the double stranding. That means my current yarn total is up to 1230 yards for 2009 used. Woohoo!

I'm casting on tonight my next project, and it's going to be for me. A cowl made with the gorgeous Manos dark blue yarn I recently got through a trade. It's beautiful and I love it already. It's also the first thing I've knit for myself since I really started knitting, so I'm anticipating it a lot. I've made so much for others these years, and nothing for me. Boo to that! I may try to adapt the pattern to be in-the-round because I don't currently have any 10.5 needles and dislike using circs as regular needles.. plus it's less finishing to do this way.. haha. The pattern seems to be easily adapted, hmm.. the worst that happens is that it's a little different looking then the pattern. But who cares? It's MY cowl! We'll see. I might try it out and frog it if it's really awful looking, otherwise I'll stop tomorrow and get some new needles.

One last note before I head off to knit.. today is the one year anniversary of the day we adopted Kira. I can't imagine what my life would be like without her, and don't even want to try. I love you, Kira!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cast Covers & Stash Knit Down 2009

I'm still making cast covers for my dear MIL. I have four done and have started on the fifth. Since they are double stranded, it's turning into a nice little stashbuster project (in addition to helping warm some cold toes!). I've decided to keep count of my yardage this year, just out of curiosity mainly (btw, so far I'm at ~980 yards). Inspired by the stash-knit-down groups on Ravelry, and my husband's complaints, AND running out of room in my stash area.. I'm going to attempt to not buy any yarn. I think this is a good idea. My goal is to not BUY any yarn until April, when I go visit my favorite local alpaca farm and pick up some of their amazingly gorgeous (and soft and warm, my god) hand spun yarn. Until then I can trade for things, and can only buy if I run out of a specific yarn for a project (or if an emergency comes up where I need to knit something ASAP and nothing I have will work.. though, I have a ton of different yarn so I don't know why that would happen). As my birthday is coming up (in like what, 6 weeks?), gifts do not count!

So there it is. No yarn until April. At that point I'll evalutate my stash and my current level of activity and go from there. Anyway.. some pictures of the already finished cast covers. I'm going to knit as many as I can by EOD Tuesday and send them out on Wednesday afternoon (it's the first day I'll have time to go to the PO). These are based on a free pattern but heavily improvised (what else is new). Basically, CO 46 stitches, k1p1 for an inch, then just knit for 3.5", then start decreases (k6, k2tog until end of round, knit the whole next round, k5, k2tog, etc.. it's my "standard" decrease for items in the round). After decreases I usually have around 16 stitches left and I just graft them together (like a sock) with a needle. They're very quick and easy to make, I just hope they fit her foot and keep her warm!

I figured I'd end with a photo of Kira. This is what she does everytime I start knitting. Sleeps between my legs. Sigh. So cute.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hats and Casts

I don't really have a whole lot of time to spend updating, but wanted to share some finished objects. First off, the hat I was working on, in Bernat Satin (Denim Heather, I believe) with 2X2 false cable rib. It turned out beautifully and I'm jealous of the woman that will end up its' owner.

Secondly, I've been busy this week making a half million toe covers (for casts) for my dear MIL, who slipped on some ice and fractured her ankle. I've already completely two (in two days) and I'm working on my third right now. I'm double stranding whatever soft, machine washable, acrylics I have lying around and luckily I have 6-7 skeins in her favorite colors. I'll take pictures when I am finished, which I'm hoping to do by Sunday night. But for now, I'm off! :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

More Charity Hats

I finally sent my mother and father their belated Christmas package. Inside were various things (a painting I got from the peninsula of a native american hummingbird, chocolates from a local chocolatier, a can of tuna, $70 worth of bath bombs from LUSH!).. INCLUDING my heathered grey alpaca convertible mitts (see prior entries). My mom really loved them, but the best rave came a few days later.. she said she's been wearing them everyday, and loves to wear them at work where it's a little drafty. Since they're convertible, she can just pull back the flaps and type all day while keeping her hands nice and toasty warm. She called me excitedly a few days ago to tell me that all of her coworkers are insanely jealous over her gloves and have been asking on a daily basis where she got them from. When she told them that I knit them for her they were all in disbelief and asked for me to knit THEM gloves too! Haha, no such luck for them.. but the stroke of ego was nice. Although I've knit for.. 8 or so years? I lost count. I think I've really become .. good, only lately.. in the past year or so. I understand how to knit, why things look the way they do, how to create patterns on the fly, etc. I finally understand knitting, so I've gotten much better and faster at it. It's nice!

I've been working on more charity hats, but as you recall from the last few posts, hit a snag when my dog decided to eat my skein of yarn. I ended up detangling what I could (about 3/4 of it) and just throwing the rest. Since then I've made good progress and am hoping to finish tonight (if I don't get too distracted on Ravelry.. or looking at rental listings on CL, we're moving soon, nooo!!). I recently got some Manos through a swap online and already have a pattern ready to go for it, I want to knit with it sooo badly. Anyway, wanted to share some progress shots.

Man this is an awful picture of me..

It's Bernat Satin yarn (again), in "denim heather", I believe. The pattern is just improved 2X2 ribs with a false cable. The false cable was being a giant pain in the ass to start with, as I've only seen it demonstrated once for about 5 seconds (a few months ago, no less).. and couldn't find any instructions on the internet of how to do it. It was trial and error, but once I figured it out, it turned out to be pretty awesome looking! For the record, all it is is knitting into the second stitch, then the first, then pulling both off the needle. It sounds more complex than it is, really.

Below is another photo of my completely charity hat in a chocolate brown Bernat Satin (with strips of TLC Amore in lt green). It was sunny today for the first time in three months, so I wanted to take photos that were a little nicer than the flash ones I already have.

And of course, no entry is complete without a picture of Kira. She was LOVING the sun and soaking every last bit of it up all day long. In the summer she will literally lay in the sun from 8AM-10PM and sleep.. she just loves it. Cute little puppy girl :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dog Bed II & Charity Hat Progress

Since I got my sewing machine in November, and made my first dog bed (as shown in previous posts), my husband has been telling me I should make a sort-of dog bed for our puppy's kennel. She doesn't spend much time in there, usually one of us is always at home, but she loves to lay in there and takes naps. Considering how much she LOVES fleece (seriously, she goes nuts over it), I finally decided to buckle down and sew a sort-of dog bed for her. At first I was just going to sew a nice fleece cover for the plastic liner pad that was in there, but then my husband suggested sewing a pillow, stuffing it, then sewing a liner for the pillow. Geez. I'm not a factory! Anyway, after some consideration, I figured his idea was best.. it would be soft, warm, cushy.. and I could remove the cover if she got it dirty and wash it (always a good idea with dog beds!).

I pulled out a box of my scrap fabric remnants and got enough fabric together to make a patchwork pillow (measuring 24"X19" when fully stuffed and finished) and a lovely, soft, fleece cover (measuring 25"X22"). The fleece cover was purposely left longer because I was going to sew the ends over to create a smooth hem.. but as I was attempting to finish it, all hell broke loose on my sewing machine and it refused to sew ANYMORE. I don't know what the issue was/is, most likely tension related, but it is still a new machine and I don't know the ins-and-outs of it yet. Either way, I figured, it's a fucking dog bed, does she really care if I sew her a smooth hem? Not likely. So voila! Dog bed part deux!

The pillow that's inside the cover
The other side of the pillow...
One side of the cover (with flash!)
The other side of the pillow (notice UNHEMMED EDGES!), no flash.. so the colors are a little more true.
The finished product, inside her kennel.

She investigated it a bit, sniffing and walking around on it before running off to play with the cat. I have no worries though, because I know how much she loves fleece, and I know she'll get a lot of use out of it in the future. Further more, I was very happy with how it turned out. My husband was even impressed at my work (it was a v. simply project, but he doesn't know that!), and commented that he loved it. The absolute only thing I would change, if I could change something, would be the unhemmed edge. And really, like I said, it's not a big deal at all.

In other news, I still haven't made any god damn progress on my second charity hat. It's been stuck at about an inch and a half since Monday due to the dog eating the yarn. I've spent countless hours trying to untangle it, and getting nowhere. Even my husband, who is awesome at helping me unravel things because he has PATIENCE, has given up. I don't know what to do. I might end up cutting my losses and throwing it away. The yarn is a 'cheap' acrylic.. just Bernat Satin.. and only cost me $1.50, but it's more the point of the matter. I HATE wasting things, even $1.50 yarn! I'll give it another go this week, but if I can't make anymore progress, it's going in the garbage and I'll then have to make an emergency trip to JoAnn to replace said yarn. Sad times.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Kittyville Hat

I made the Kittyville hat several years ago, for my dear friend Amanda, but never finished it (the ears). So last night, I decided to finish it. Ta-da! Kittyville hat ala Mindy.

Other than that, I've been working on my second chemo-cap, but progress has completely halted to a stand still because the dog got into the yarn (again) and made it such a mess that I've been untangling for THREE DAYS and not making any progress. Fuck. I really wanted to get it done, but I don't know if that's going to happen anytime soon.

That is a picture of what SOME of the mess looked like. Yeah. Anyhow. That's about all for now.

Monday, January 05, 2009

More Charity Hats

First things first. An update to my hat that has been chronicled in several posts before.. I finished last week. The results:

The picture sucks, it's actually very pretty!

Since finding and joining Ravelry, I've become a woman obsessed! I literally cannot say enough great things about the site as a whole. One of the groups that I frequent decided to do a charity hat knit for a hospice-type home in Monterey. The main group of people that are there are cancer patients.. so we're making chemo caps. I cast on for my first cap on New Years Day and finished today (four days, woo!). Here are the results:

View from the top

It's based on your based roll-brim pattern, I didn't use any pattern (as per the norm) and just winged it. I'm very, very happy with the results. The yarn is a new yarn to me, as well. Nothing special really, just some Bernat Satin (in mocha) and TLC Amore (the green). Bernat Satin is like heaven and I'm sure whoever gets this hat will be happy with it! I know I would. I've already started my next one, which I think I'm going to try some new techniques with. We'll see. Julie comes in tomorrow and I can barely contain my excitement. However this means my crafting/sewing/knitting will be minimal for the next week or so. I'll see if I can't finish my next hat in the time that she's here. We'll see!