not quite satisfied

March 14, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Posted in projects | Leave a comment
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Well, some projects just don’t turn out as awesome as you had thought they would. I had high hopes for this knitted hood-hat, but the finished item has left me feeling rather “meh.”

You can’t know until you put something on how it is going to fit, and the fit of this hat was just a little bit off for me. I don’t like the way the earflaps hang, and I wanted the ribbed edging to be a little snugger over my forehead. I could make some modifications and try again, but I have already moved on to other creations.

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My brother thought it was funny. Here he is modeling correct and incorrect methods of wearing it:

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I guess I shall post it on facebook and see if anyone else wants to try it. The colors are nice and it is very warm!

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Small gift

March 14, 2014 at 1:24 am | Posted in gifts | Leave a comment
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One of my coworkers saw my knitted cellphone pouch and asked, “Where do you get a glasses case like that?”

So I answered, “Well, if you’re me, you make one.”

“But I don’t knit,” she said.

“I would love to make you one as a gift.”

“Ok, but I want to pay you for it.”

“No, I won’t let you pay. It’s a birthday present.”

(It really was her birthday when this conversation happened!)

Here’s the pouch that I brought to her the next day:

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Made with handspun pink wool yarn plus black acrylic yarn (what I happened to have on hand in my work bag and my locker when I started knitting). Plus a glass button I selected from my giant bin o’buttons to match.

I think she liked it!

Two Shawls

February 28, 2014 at 2:09 am | Posted in projects | 1 Comment
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It has been a very cold winter here in Vermont and I am feeling pretty ready for it to be over! But at least I can make warm knitted garments to make the cold a little more bearable. Here are two shawls that I finished recently. They’re both made from old sweaters that I unraveled.

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The first one is a VERY old ufo that I finally finished. Amazing! I think I originally started it seven years ago, maybe even closer to eight. I have always loved the yarn, it has an interesting thick and thin texture with little slubs here and there. It started out all a sort of muted red and I over-dyed sections of it each a different color. The reasons it took me so long to finish the darn thing are: A) The yarn is thin and there was a lot of it, so knitting it was slow going compared to the chunky yarn that I use a lot of the time and B) I wasn’t thinking when I started the project and I just started knitting in garter stitch, which I do like the look of, but it is really monotonous. So I got bored and stuffed the project away in storage. But now it is rediscovered and FINISHED! Yay! And I am really happy with the completed product. It is huge and the colors are lovely. I even bought a shawl pin to wear it with. I’ve never had a shawl pin before.

Shawl number two, the pink and black one, doesn’t have nearly as long a history. Well, the yarn might have some history, I don’t remember when I acquired it, just that it was from an unraveled sweater. It’s honestly a little strange to me that I had this yarn in my stash because I really don’t like that shade of pink. But it is a nice soft cotton, at least, which is why I selected it to make a wrap with. This project had one single purpose: to be something easy to knit while I am at work answering phones. I picked out this pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sueno-lace-wrap because it is pretty but also really simple. You only have to count to three, and there are only two different rows to repeat, just the pattern row and then a purl row. Super simple. Even so, I did mess up a little on the first inch or so because I misread the instructions but I just kept on going and the mistake isn’t very noticeable. I would have liked to make it a little longer, but I ran out of yarn, so that was that. But it turned out to be just the right size to drape over your shoulders and I added a button to hold it in place.

Here’s my chair modeling it for us:

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This will be the first project to test my new policy of rehoming orphan finished projects to whoever on my facebook feed wants them, as discussed in my previous post. I am sure that there are plenty of folks who do like that shade of pink, so I am hopeful that it will find a happy home. And if none of my friends are interested, I will donate it somewhere. So, happy ending either way.

And here’s another picture of the first shawl so you can see the yarn close up.

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A new policy

January 31, 2014 at 1:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

So, I have been thinking lately about all the handmade things that I create that I don’t know what to do with when they’re finished. A lot of what I make is for an intended recipient or purpose. But I also make many things just for the need-pleasure of creating. Sometimes I just want to use that one particular beautiful yarn. Sometimes I want to practice a technique or explore an idea. Sometimes I am just keeping my hands busy and seeing what comes out of them. Creativity is like that, you can’t always tell it what to do, it has its own unpredictable agenda.

Back when I first opened my etsy store, my idea was that I could just sell all the things that I made that didn’t have anywhere else to go. I figured, why not, I was making them anyway, it would be cool to get a little money from it. But after a while, selling things was just making me unhappy. I liked some parts of the etsy community, and it was pretty neat to trade homemade items with other craftspeople, but I found myself starting to think about what would sell and making things that I thought would be more popular. That was never my intention when I decided to have a store, and it was a little bit of an icky feeling. Also, all of the business-running stuff was just stressful for me. It was more work than I really thought it would be, to get decent photographs of each item and write accurate and catchy descriptions, all the tagging and titles and self-promotion, and especially the packaging and shipping. And then the etsy administration seemed to be getting less and less receptive to the needs of actual small craftspeople, doing nothing to police the fake handcrafts and reselling that were flooding their marketplace. At that point I was happy to empty my store and pull away. If I ever think about selling my work again, I will have to have some sort of business partner to do all the business-y stuff.

But that’s not really what I want!

Recently I have been sending some homemade things along when we make thrift store donations, hoping that they will find their way into the hands of someone who might need or appreciate them. For instance, I stayed up late knitting a hat the other night only to decide that I really wasn’t satisfied with the finished project, even though S and K both said it looked lovely. That hat is now in a bag with some clothing that we were planning to bring to goodwill. But putting a newly-made homemade garment in with all the used clothes doesn’t feel quite right, either.

So here’s what I have decided to do. When I make something that I don’t know what else to do with, I am going to post a picture of it to facebook (and maybe also here and twitter) and I will give people the chance to express an interest, first one to ask gets it. And if no one wants it, then I will donate it somewhere. I think this is a good idea because I like to share and to give gifts, and it might be a way of connecting with some of those facebook contacts who I don’t really interact with on a regular basis. Sending a real life package is much more fulfilling than just liking a status.

I hope that this will work out well! The first item is likely to be the shawl that I am knitting for my at-work, knit-at-my-desk-while-answering-phones project. It is very pink and I don’t like the color at all. Not an Ellen pink for sure. I go for fuchsia, but anything less saturated and I will usually turn up my nose. I can’t remember where I even got this yarn. But it is soft, and perfect for a light cotton shawl, and I am enjoying the simple ripple stitch that I’m using.

Anyway, this has been a somewhat wordy post, so I will end with a picture of the lap blanket that I crocheted for my sister for Christmas to match the color scheme of her bedroom. Because there should always be pictures in a blog post, right?

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Mommies and Mittens

November 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Posted in other people's awesome crafts | Leave a comment
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I stole this picture of my nephew from my sister’s blog because it is wicked cute, and also because of what he’s wearing! Exhibit A: the sweater I knitted for his birthday. Exhibit B: some mittens that my mom made him. Grandmas make the best mittens, clearly.

So cute!!!!

My mom is an expert knitter of mittens. When I was younger, she used to be crocheting constantly because she had a small business selling baby booties and fluffy sheep ornaments. Nowadays, she has transitioned to knitting mittens all the time. She has the pattern memorized and can make them in any size! Everyone in the family has some, but most of them are donated through the local family center and through the annual coat drive at her church. It makes me happy to think of all those mittens out in the world keeping people’s hands warm. Also, she saves all her scrap yarn for me, and you know how much I love scrap yarn!

Last time I was home, I took a picture of a pair of mittens that she had just finished. Then I found out that spoonflower had a mitten theme for one of their weekly design contests. So I used the photo to make a fabric design! I wish that I had better graphic art skills, and access to photoshop, but I’m happy with how it turned out anyway. Here it is: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/2578956

And here is the spoonflower contests page so you can see all the other awesome designs, and vote if you want to! http://www.spoonflower.com/contests/222

UFO landing

October 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Posted in art, projects | Leave a comment
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Life is a little crazy right now! S and I have been sorting through absolutely everything we own so that we could clear out space for my brother to move into our second bedroom. We have opened up every single drawer, cupboard, or box in the entire house, and we have emptied out most of those compartments and evaluated each item inside them. We have donated a ton of stuff to thrift stores. I already brought one bag of books to the used bookstore to sell for credit, and I have six more boxes of books waiting to be gone through. We had so many scarves and hats and mittens that we filled an entire garbage bag with ones to donate, and we still have two drawers full that we elected to keep. The bedroom is empty and ready for my brother to move in tomorrow, all that’s left in there is furniture and some of his stuff that he already dropped off. If you saw my living room, you would think we were hoarders, though, because there is still a rather large untidy pile of stuff needing to be sorted! But most of it has a plan, thank goodness. We will be putting a few things into my brother’s storage unit, getting rid of a significant portion more, and the rest will find a home in the closet or in a plastic storage bin.

It has been both stressful and really refreshing to sort through all our stuff like this. It is a thousand little decisions, what to do with each small object, each article of clothing, each book, each piece of fabric, each skein of yarn, but our closet has never looked so amazingly organized, the space under the kitchen sink is no longer a pit of despair, and we now have space for three people to sit down at our table, instead of just two!

One side effect of all of this is that we have found lots of things that were buried and forgotten about in the back of a cupboard or the bottom of a basket, and that includes a ton of unfinished knitting and crochet projects. The inevitable UFOs that every fiber artist knows all too well. So many projects get set aside because you get bored or frustrated with them, or because you started working on another project that you’re more excited about. But now, these projects are rediscovered and newly interesting. Time has erased the boredom or the frustration and inspiration can return!

So, here is a project that has been sitting unfinished for a very long time, and is now finally completed! It’s a wall-hanging made mostly from unraveled sweaters. One of the sweaters is very sentimental to me because I used to wear it all the time when S and I first started dating fourteen years ago. The sweater eventually got very ratty, but I had unraveled it and kept the yarn, and now I finally have this art on my wall where a small part of that sweater is preserved.

 

 

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taking pride in finished projects

September 17, 2013 at 1:25 am | Posted in gifts, projects | 4 Comments
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Not proud of how long it took me to get around to posting pictures, but hey. This is still awesome and I felt very accomplished when I finished it. And it is actually the first sweater that I have ever knitted! I’ve crocheted a sweater before, but never knitted one! So, here it is, the adorable creation I made for Lewis’s first birthday:

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This is the pattern I used: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bear-tracks / http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/pattern-correction-baby-bear-hoodie

I didn’t do the pockets from the pattern because I think they make it a little too busy. It’s cute enough with just the ears, and I felt like the pockets would detract from the overall look. Besides that, I followed the pattern and I am quite happy with the finished product. The buttons are wood.

When my aunt saw this, she asked me if I could make one in an adult size exactly like it! I said yes, but I’ll have to find a pattern. I have confidence in my knitting, but not enough in my design skills to take a baby-sized pattern and modify it for a grown-up. But I’m sure I can find a similar hooded cardigan and add ears to it.

Also, here’s another recently finished project, the latest scrapghan. I’ve lost track of what number this is.

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Cheddar of course had to help me take a picture of it. And he is sitting on my lap while I’m wrapped in the blanket right now! It’s a nice thick one because I used three strands of scrap yarn. I like using three strands because the color effect is a little more subtle and blended than it would be with just two strands. Of course, three strands also takes more yarn to get to a finished blanket, but my coworker Sara has started gifting me her scraps from her crochet projects, so at least I have a new source to feed my scrap yarn addiction!

Fashionable Buttons

August 25, 2013 at 2:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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adorable nephew

July 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I made a couple of wool balls for my ten-month-old nephew, and I keep forgetting to post the pictures. I forgot for so long that he’s almost eleven months old now!ImageImage

yarn graffiti

June 11, 2013 at 1:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Someone crochet-bombed a little tree down the street from my house.

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