2016 projects, Completed (with project notes), General, Uncategorized

Spats Complete

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Sassy!

What a weird little project but honestly? I love them. They are a bit funny and my husband “doesn’t understand” but I think they are great. I also know I’ll be using them because I have some shoes, two pairs in fact, that are extremely comfortable and fine but are slip-ons/backless. That doesn’t work for me because I basically exist in leggings and skirts all fall, winter, and spring. I need booties, not backless shoes. These little spats make those shoes totally wearable with leggings now. I actually think they make the shoes look better in general.

 

As always, I have some notes:

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A poorly photographed heel loop
  • I used Red Heart Super Saver in black. I used this for two reasons. 1) it is cheap acrylic I had kicking around and would have no problem tossing them in the bin if they didn’t work out 2) it is cheap, hard wearing acrylic that I can toss in the washer when they inevitably get dirty.
  • I knit them in a 2×2 rib. When I did my increases I added to the first knit ridge until I added 4 (on each side), which then allowed me to break it off into 2×2 ribbing again.
  • They JUUUUUUST fit to the top of my ankle but frankly I should have knit them to be longer. What can I say, I was impatient. Future spats (of which there shall be many) will be taller, perhaps even with enough length for a folded over cuff.
  • I had heels in mind when I knit these, especially my two pairs of slip on heels, and I wanted to make sure the spats would stay in place. I crocheted a loop into the back of each spat large enough to slip over the heel and slide (snugly) to the top of the heel. This works brilliantly.

 

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SPATS!
2016 projects, Completed (with project notes), Uncategorized

Acrylic slippers FTW

Do people still use the “FTW” (for the win) acronym?

Whatever.

14089304_10157372480435603_1684730502133303496_nSo these slippers are wonderful. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. Warm and comfy and just scuffy enough to feel slipper-y rather than sock-y. I wasn’t sure how I would like the colours in the main foot of the slipper but actually it turned out pretty neat looking.

As always, I have some notes:

  • Acrylic for slippers is awesome. Just as soft and warm as you could hope, but also machine washable. WINNNNNN!
  • … I will say, however, that they are starting to fuzz/fluff a bit already. Part of that is because I am constantly twitching my feet, usually in the form of me rubbing my feet together, so they are getting the hell frictioned out of them. I’m not worried about the fuzziness, it just makes them look and feel cosier, but it is a bit surprising. I expect that sort of thing with wool and other natural fibers, not with acrylic. And this stuff is 100% acrylic. (Loops & Threads Impeccable)
  • The cuffs were a cinch, just tubes knit on the round and crocheted together. (I’m super lazy.) Then I just picked up 32 stitches around the bottom of each cuff. Knit 6(ish) rows, turned the heel, and then knit the rest of the foot. Easy.
  • I suck so hard at kitchener that I basically didn’t even try to do it right. I mean, yeah, the toes of the socks are grafted together but I did a pretty horrific job. FAR from seamless. It was like this weird faux-kitchener. Like if kitchener was done by a blind donkey. But the toes are closed, so who cares I guess….
  • The double held yarn for the bootie part of the slipper was the correct choice. Extra warm but also extra cushioned for walking comfort.
  • Kept the same needle size throughout the whole project. Kept it at a US9 needle through the cuff (held single) and the bootie (held double). I’m good with the end result.

 

I know they looks like different sizes but they actually aren’t. They both fit perfectly.
2016 projects, Cross Stitch, General, Uncategorized

Mario cross-stitch complete!

13717239_10157181971195603_2490675778638601622_o (1)TA DAAAAAAAAAA! Totally turned out awesome, amirite? For my first cross stitch I feel it was pretty flipping successful, and I am happy to say it has been framed and hung with pride in my guest washroom.

So my thoughts in general on this project:

  • I missed a row in his legs. It isn’t a big deal and incredibly hard to notice if I didn’t tell you, and even after I tell you you still may not be able to see it. But yeah… missed a row.
  • Finishing this project was supremely satisfying in the same way that finishing a large knitting project is supremely satisfying, except that this only took me two weeks.
  • Cross stitch is pretty portable and in some ways more portable than knitting (especially compared to my sock yarn blanket, which is oh so not portable)
  • Cross stitch FOs are rather more understood and appreciated by the public at large in a way that knitting just isn’t. In terms of HOURS this probably took me as much time as, say, my Rainbow mitts or my bonnet, but people’s response to those two items were decidedly less enthusiastic and “wow” than their response was to this. And in terms of complexity/effort/skill required, this was a lot easier than the other two. Just, you know… stitching exes over and over.
  • Its a fun activity, but little too “pay attention”-y. Hard to do while watching something on the TV. Listening to TV? Sure. Watching? Not so much.

 

I will cross stitch again (I have already started a new Harry Potter cross stitch), I like that the end result can be hung up and displayed for all to see, but I don’t see it ever replacing knitting as my true love.

2016 projects, Uncategorized

This is what I get for making slippers out of wool… :(

20160119_214812_medium220160121_213117_medium2I made some slippers. I thought they were lovely slippers. Warm and cosy and quite comfortable. I used yarn I received as a gift from my husband and kid to make these slippers, and all was well with the world.

Then one of those slippers went all Bilbo Baggins on me and decided to go on an adventure.

An adventure into the washing machine.

On the hot water cycle. 

So yeah, massive shrinking and felt city. I don’t even know if it would fit my 9 year old. Tragedy.

R.I.P slipper. You will be missed.

So, the cold weather is rapidly approaching. Guess I should make a replacement pair, eh? Yes. Yes I should. I have multiple goals in mind with this pair.

  1. CANNOT BE SHRUNK! This seriously sucked, so I am making sure I use a yarn that protects me from any future adventuring slippers.
  2. Durable. We moved (YAY) and our new house is likely going to be hella colder than what we’re used to. New house is a lot bigger and no wood stove any more = slippers all the time!! So I need them to be able to stand up to constant wear.
  3. Warm. See #2
  4. Bootie style. I want them to have a proper cuff so that they stay on easily, but also in case I go tromping out in the snow in them. (Yes, this happens. A lot. I’ll be inside and my kid will be all “LES! Come see this!” and I’ll have to tromp outside in my slippers and hastily tossed on jacket to witness something he deemed worthy of my effort.)
  5. Appropriately scuffy/floppy so that they are super comfy but also of a size that I could wear them with a pair of socks as well, should the need arise, and it probably will because Canada.
  6. Pretty. I like pretty things. I swear, pretty things are warmer than boring things.

So that’s my plan, and actually I have already started. First of all, I’m using acrylic. I know I know, I “should” be using proper wool and I feel somewhat bad for using acrylic for slippers, especially since I have some really nice wool just aching to become slippers, but you know what? I can’t. I can’t face another accidentally shrunk slipper. Plus, I have a ton of Loops and Thread Impeccable in all sorts of colours that I should use up. So don’t be givin’ me any of your sass about how acrylic sucks and isn’t warm and try to make me feel like I’m breaking some good knitter law. Hurumph.

14079477_10157336087155603_3063458909892975478_nSo goal one is the cuffs. I’m knitting cuffs as tubes (Double Layer! Extra Warmth!). 26 stitches around on size US 9 needles. It isn’t a tight knit by any stretch of the imagination, and that is intentional. I would knit to a much smaller gauge with this yarn, using like a US 4 or something for a yarn weight like this, if this was an outdoor item. Windblocking and all that. But this is an indoor item, where comfort and squishy warmth are what matters. So I’ve knit the tubes, with some added fun of colour shifting, and since I’m knitting to such a big gauge they are knitting up SUPER fast. Already done one and halfway through he second. WIN! Also, they are looking pretty snazzy. I’m knitting them all grey with a blob of colour on one end (see the adjacent picture for what the block of colour looks like). When I finish them I’m going to make the blob of colours go on the side of my ankles, mostly just for fun but also to differentiate the two. I’m not weeping over the existence of seams, but I suppose if I had been smart I could have done a provisional cast on and then kitchener’d them together, but screw that. I’m going to crochet the two ends together and call it a day.

Once the cuffs are done I am going to knit the booties. I can’t decide if I want to start them by picking up stitches around the cuffs and then going that way, or if I want to knit toe up and then seaming them. Decisions decisions. Also, I think for warmth and durability I am going to knit the booties with the yarn held double. Will prob go up a couple needle sizes as well.

Cold weather is approaching quickly. Looking forward to getting these done ASAP!

 

2016 projects, Completed (with project notes), General, Real Life, Uncategorized

Welcome Back Mittens

14034838_10157336521250603_2674321381275197185_nSaturday this past weekend I just… needed to knit. I haven’t really had a knitty frame of mind for a few months. Maybe it is because I had sort of overdosed on knitting and my brain just needed a break from it. Whatever the reason, I haven’t knit much in months and had been focusing on other crafts/hobbies to fill the huge gaping void that knitting usually held in my life.

But then saturday, something changed…

[pullquote]Lesley’s Basic Mittens

US9 Needles

Patton’s Shetland Chunky in “Blue Jeans” colourway

  • Magic CO 18 (9 on each needle)
  • KFB the first stitch on each needle, knitting the rest (increasing by 2 each round) until there is 28 stitches total (14 on each needle)
  • K until the bottom edge reaches where thumb meets palm, but the other side also easily stretches to the bottom of palm
  • 6 stitch afterthought thumb
  • K another inch or two, until the mitten top reaches wrist plus a bit
  • 2×2 ribbing for 4 inches or so.
  • stretchy bind off
  • pick up stitches for thumb. Pick up 2 in each corner to close gap but knit those 2 together. If it still looks gappy do it again the next round to close gaps.
  • knit until reaches the top of the thumb, then do rounds of K2tog until 2 stitches left. Pull end through those stitches.
  • Weave in ends.

[/pullquote]

I had a craving for yarn and clicking needles.

I went to my stash… oh my lovely stash… and pawed through it all. I delighted in textures and colours and breathed deeply in the sheepy perfume of my more rustic wool blends. I rubbed various skeins against my face (the only TRUE way to feel yarn as far as I am concerned). I unearthed some long-dormant projects (like my Stripes Gone Crazy sweater) and tsk’d at my failure to show them the respect they deserved. As I mentally re-inventoried I was reminded of all the projects and plans I had made for all of these various yarns and my knitter passion was set aflame once more. Hell, it is a damned blowtorch.

Note the lack of comma in the subject line. I’m not welcoming back mittens. That would be silly. I’m Canadian; mittens are a mainstay in my life and to welcome them back would imply they left at some point. See? Silly. No, what I am referring to is “Welcome Back Mittens”, the mittens I made to welcome myself back into knitting.

14053945_10157336521195603_176939692907972448_nAre they simple? Yep. Dead basic top down mitten with an afterthought thumb. No pattern, no plan. No fancy colour work, cables, or techniques.  Nothing new or complicated or challenging to see here. Just plain old mittens. But hot damn, I made them and I finished them in no time and they are awesome. And for once, they are the same size. When I wing things that come in pairs (mittens, socks, etc) they NEVER end up the same size, but these? These are PERFECTLY THE SAME SIZE. Even the thumbs are the same size!

This has to be a sign.

The knitting gods smiled upon me, friends, and welcomed me back.

2016 projects, Cross Stitch, General, Uncategorized

As if I didn’t have enough dorky hobbies…

13524284_10157072683935603_2089906618334939420_nSo I decided to give cross stitch a shot. Why? Um,… I don’t know. It isn’t like I lack for hobbies. I sew, I quilt, I knit, I crochet, I sketch, I dabble in photography. Hell, I can even do chainmaille. So why the hell do I need another hobby? I guess part of it is my friend Telle. She cross stitches and does some really awesome things. She even made me this epic “Have a nice poop” cross stitch as a homewarming gift for me! How awesome is that? After I hung it up in our guest bathroom and saw how hilariously awesome it looked I started thinking about what other awesome cross stitches we could hang in there… and that was about it. I went on Pinterest and started looking up fun cross stitch patterns.

Let it be said that there is an epic amount of really amazing cross stitch patterns out there. It was hard deciding on which one would be my first pattern to try. Me being me, I obviously didn’t choose a small simple one. Oh no. I chose to go with the coolest one I saw that made me the most excited. Turns out it was this one

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Super Mario by StitchLine

Come on. How awesome is this. Just like in knitting, I have zero issue spending money on patterns when they are as cool as this. And it was a buy-one-get-one thing, so I also got this cool Yoda pattern too.

 

Just a few hours of work so far and I’ve made good progress.

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The only downside to cross stitch is that I can’t do it as mindlessly as I can knit. I am able to knit and watch something on the TV without issue, but this? This I need to pay attention to. But maybe that is okay.

I wonder if there is limit to how many hobbies one person should have….

2016 projects, Uncategorized

Sock yarn blanket update (aka. slower than cold molasses going uphill)

I’ve been pretty distracted knitting hats and various other smaller things lately that my sock yarn blanket has sort of hibernated. In the living room it waited, judging me for not working on it, but finally I have resumed working on it. I’m enjoying it, too. It continues to be a very satisfying, enjoyable project to work on. It ticks off almost all of my “fun knitting” boxes:

  • fairly straightforward knitting that doesn’t require a ton of concentration
  • not TOTALLY mindless, takes a bit of focus to do the center decreases to make the mitered squares
  • doesn’t need a lot of constant stitch counting or stitch markers
  • frequent feelings of having finished something (I feel good after I finish each block)
  • I get to use lots of fun colours/yarn, and get to choose a new colour/yarn every 20 minutes or so
  • I can see my progress

I would LOVE to finish this blanket this year, and it would take so little to make that happen. Right now I’m at 264 blocks. If I knit just one block a day I would hit 400 blocks on June 24th. If I want to get to 500 blocks that would be done October 2nd! I can definitely manage 20 minutes a day to work on this, or alternatively (and more likely) I can sit down and knit a few a couple days a week. Suddenly this all seems so much more doable, eh? So I think that is my new plan. Knit at least 7 blocks per week.

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2016 projects, General, Real Life, Uncategorized

Age appropriate but still fun

I have a long standing issue with wearing things age appropriate, but not in the way you’d maybe thing. I like to wear properly stupid/silly looking things. My bunny hat is a great example. I made the hat and love the hell out of it. I have taken to wearing it around the house because why not! BUNNY EARS!! Everything is better with bunny ears, right? And that hat is seriously toasty warm. And then I wore it to work and got five people commenting on how awesome it is. Win, right?

Well, apparently it isn’t really work appropriate and isn’t really age appropriate and I shouldn’t wear it in public. I swear being a grown up is ruining all my fun.

Fine. FINE! I won’t wear my bunny hat to work! …. kill joys….

So then I threw this together.

Its just a simple ear warmer, knit in a simple checkerboard, and I knit a fun pink bow and attached it off center. Simple, but functional. I can wear it and it won’t ruin my hair (in most cases). And it is still pretty warm. I mean, not as warm as the bunny hat, but still pretty warm. I actually used the same yarn as my bunny hat since I had so much left over.

When I put it on and showed my husband he expressed some… doubt. Yes, lets say doubt. Doubt whether it was age appropriate, whether or not it would be considered silly or funny, etc. I asked around and the consensus seems to be that it is okay, so I’m calling it good to go. Sure, the big pink bow may not be the most classy grown up thing, but it sure as hell is better than the bunny ears. I can’t be totally grown up all the time, right?

2016 projects, General, Uncategorized

Bunny hat

The internet made do it!

Or more accurately, the people on the ravelry forums did! I have long wanted a bunny hat so I finally made one. Knit up insanely quickly, thanks to the super bulky yarn and it is very warm. I kind of love it, though the ears aren’t as big and floppy as I intended. They are kind of stiff actually. But whatever, I made a bunny hat life is good.2016-01-13 21.27.08

It bares stating that this is my third hat this month. I made two more harf, and now this. I only have one head! I need to cool it with the hats…

Project Notes:

  • Used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in “Pink” and “Grey Marble”. The yarn was pretty good to work with, end result is quite soft. The grey yarn is a big sheddy, though.
  • I used size 13 US needles, and it knit to a fairly tight gauge. I like it that way, though.
  • the main hat part was knit as a hood type thing, sort of like my harf, but with a bit of ribbing at the front edge for a bit of detail. I love this style of hat because I can put it on without ruining or messing up my hair!
  • The ears were surprisingly easy to make. I knit the grey outer part and then knit the pink inner part, then attached them using the pink yarn and a crochet hook. The end result is a surprisingly clean, tidy seam and nice looking inner ear bit. 20160114_084613
  • the ears themselves were actually a bit heavy so it took a bit of extra work and reinforcement to attach them so that they stayed up and a bit perky.
  • the bunny tail in the back was just some old white acrylic I had kicking around that I fluffed up by brushing it.

 

 

 

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