giraffe wear

October 6, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Posted in ideas | Leave a comment
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Fashion trend! I have been noticing a lot of giraffe-themed accessories on ravelry lately. I tend to notice giraffe things because my brother in law really likes giraffes, and I am always on the lookout for gift ideas for family members. It does seem like there are quite a lot of giraffe knitting projects, so I guess he is not the only one who loves them. Dress yourself in Giraffe Wear!

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/giraffe-cowl-and-mittens

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/giraffe-mittens-sjiraffvotter

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/spotted-giraffe-cowl

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/twiga-or-i-wish-i-were-a-giraffe

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/p0405-giraffe-wrist-warmers-

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/giraffe-cowl, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/giraffe-mitts, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/giraffe-beanie (these three are a matched set)

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/orange-giraffe-sock-knitting-instruction-size-38-39

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/giraffes-browsing-in-the-savannah-jacket

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/giraffe-minidress

More Critters

September 13, 2014 at 12:04 am | Posted in gifts, projects | Leave a comment
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After I made the rat and the bear, I made a hippo, a different bear, a turtle, a beetle, and two hedgehogs. Knitting animals is super fun! All of the animals are now living with my nephew, except one of the hedgehogs, which I gave to my aunt. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the second hedgehog, but maybe my sister can get a picture of my nephew playing with it.

Next I am going to make this cat: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-nursery-cat, probably to send to my grandmother.

But right now I am taking a break from animals to work on a few shawls, plus a special project for a wedding present.

Here is a shawl that I finished while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, and I just wore it for the first time today because it was perfect weather for a fashionable cotton neck-wrap! I totally love how this turned out, and I look forward to wearing it frequently.

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It was made from this pattern, with a few minor modifications. The yarn is reclaimed from a thrift store sweater that I dyed purple before unraveling.

critters

July 21, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Posted in projects | Leave a comment
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I have found a new obsession for the summer of 2014. Knitted animals!

I made a bear:

And I made a rat:

And now I am working on a hippo, with plans to make another bear from a different pattern, and maybe another rat from this same pattern, and I also found some interesting-looking patterns for sea creatures–a leafy sea dragon and a prawn. And also a dragonfly. And a toad. And….

There is so much knitting to be done and so little time!

update on Mrs. Bale

May 3, 2014 at 9:17 am | Posted in projects, sewing | 2 Comments
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After an extensive search of the Ravelry pattern database, I found two scarf patterns that I like and that I think are similar to the lace of Mrs. Bale’s sweater. So I am making one of each!

Mrs. Bale #1 is from this pattern (with a few modifications): http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/best-friend-scarf. I am using some bright golden yellow linen thread that I got for Christmas.

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Mrs. Bale #2 is from this pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/manchester-scarf. I am knitting it with a collection of wool scraps that I had been saving to dye, but S saw them together and said she liked the colors, so I said I would make her a big fat scarf for next winter.

 

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The second pattern is shaping up to be a little more similar to the inspiring sweater, but I am happy with both of them and I can’t wait to see them when they’re all finished and blocked.

Also here are some gratuitous pictures of two zipper pouches I made recently. The lawnmower one I made for my dad’s birthday and the triangular one is completely pointless. I just wanted to use that fabric and zipper, but I didn’t plan ahead before I started sewing it, so it turned out rather imperfect. And also, what do you put into a triangular pouch?

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How to make a scrapghan

April 28, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Posted in blogging, pattern | Leave a comment
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ZIGZAG

Someone commented on one of my older blog posts and asked me for a pattern for the creation of scrapghans. I can’t really write down the pattern I use, because there isn’t one. But I can write out a sort of recipe so you can see my process. So here goes…

RECIPE FOR A SCRAP YARN BLANKET:

Ingredients— Lots and lots and lots of yarn scraps. If you’ve ever knit or crocheted a blanket, you know it takes a lot of yarn. Since a scrap blanket is made from small lengths of yarn, be prepared to collect a lot of them.

My single criteria for a piece of yarn is that it is long enough to tie a knot on either end of it to connect it to the rest of the yarn. You might choose to be a little more selective than this if you don’t like tying lots of knots. The larger the piece of yarn, the longer stripe it will make. A “scrap” could be anything from a few inches to half a skein or even more.

Potential sources for scrap yarns include: leftover pieces from your other projects, ribbons and strips of fabric, friends and family members (I have trained mine to save their leftover bits for me), thrift stores (people often donate their leftover yarn), etsy (sellers will sometimes put up a “destash” listing of unwanted yarns), unraveled sweaters (gather the small connecting pieces for your scrap ball while you are deconstructing the body of the sweater for other uses), etc.

Note on fiber contents: I will combine any type of fiber into my scrapghans because I love to have as much assortment as possible. However, different fibers do have different washing instructions. If you want a machine-washable blanket and don’t want parts of it to get felted, then you might choose to avoid wool and other animal fibers.

Optional ingredient: A large amount of one or two other yarns. In some of my blankets, I have worked with one strand of a single color held together with one or two strands of scrap yarn. This will give your blanket a more unified look. For instance, this one has the same gray cotton throughout the blanket, worked together with a restricted palette of scrap yarns. You can see it looks very different from the scrapghan at the beginning of this post, which is only scrap yarns.

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Step One: Organizing your yarn

Once you have collected your scrap yarns, you need to decide whether you want to arrange the colors at all, or whether you prefer complete randomness. Obviously there are lots of different options for designing your blanket, so think about how you would like it to look as a finished product.

If you want wide stripes, you would group like-colored yarns together. Here is an example where I did that. For this blanket I made a separate bag of scraps for each color, then blended them together as I went along.

sister

To have a more random assortment of colors, my usual procedure is to start knitting or crocheting the blanket when I only have a little bit of yarn, and then I just attach new scraps as I acquire them until the blanket is as big as I want it.

You could also collect all your yarns first, then draw randomly from the bag each time you need a new color, or you could wind them all into large balls of scraps. The large balls are fun because you forget what’s inside so you don’t know what’s going to come next as you’re knitting along, but they can also be a little unwieldy.

You can also restrict your color assortment, as in the gray blanket above. It will take longer to collect the yarn if you are drawing from fewer colors, of course. But you might choose to do this to make a blanket that matches a room’s color scheme, or as a gift for someone in their favorite color, etc.

Step Two–Creation

A scrap blanket can be made with any standard blanket pattern, but simpler is better. A complex pattern won’t show up well against the backdrop of color changes, and more complicated stitches might be hard to do with the thicker lengths of yarn. I usually do either garter stitch or single crochet. I have also done a few giant granny squares, one wide-ribbed knit, and my current project is the zigzag blanket in the picture at the top. When choosing between knit or crochet, keep in mind that knitted fabric uses less yarn and is stretchier and thinner, while crocheted fabric works up faster, uses more yarn, and is thicker and sturdier. Both make excellent finished products.

I always work with at least two strands held together because this helps to unify the varying weights of the yarns. You will need a large sized crochet hook (I am using a K on my current blanket, and I could easily go up a size or two), or for knitting you will need a large circular needle with enough length to hold lots of stitches.

Since you are going to have a lot of knots, I find it easiest to just leave the ends sticking out, and I like the way it looks as well. If you don’t like the knot ends, you may choose to join your yarn differently, or to fold them in as you go along.

I would recommend starting with a throw-sized blanket for your first scrapghan so you can get a sense of what you like before moving on to a bigger project, and so you can be finished faster! Really, the most difficult thing about making these is the time commitment, because it does take a while to collect and organize all those little pieces of yarn. It actually amazes me to think of how many scrap blankets I have made since I started them!

Finishing touches

Since a scrap blanket is, by nature, a jumble of many different yarns and colors, you might like to add a crochet border in a contrasting color around the edge to pull everything together. I think this looks nice and makes the blanket feel more finished, and it also helps to give a little more structure to knitted blankets. Here is one of my crocheted blankets with an added border of blue and black:

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And I think that’s everything! These blankets are a lot of fun to make, and I love to think of other people putting their own spin on the idea. I’ve loved every picture I have seen of other crafters’ creations of scrap yarn blankets. In fact, I think it was a picture on another blog that inspired me to make my very first one, several years ago. So, I hope this write-up is helpful to anyone who was thinking of trying one, and I am happy to answer any questions in case I missed anything here.

Mrs. Bale

April 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Sallie and I were watching “As Time Goes By” last night, and we both rather liked the sweater that Mrs. Bale was wearing in one of the episodes. So now I am browsing on ravelry, trying to find a similar lace pattern so I can make a Mrs. Bale scarf or shawl. It’s probably too much to ask to find the actual sweater pattern.

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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sequence of events

June 10, 2013 at 12:04 am | Posted in projects, yarn stash | Leave a comment
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1. I had yarn left over from that cotton afghan I finished (see previous post).

2. I left the bag with said yarn in it sitting on the floor in the living room. Lazybones.

3. One of my dogs knocked my cup of coffee off the table and the bag got a little wet.

4. Luckily, the yarn itself didn’t get any coffee on it. I made a little pile of yarn on the table and put the bag into the laundry.

5. I was feeling fidgety, so I picked up the yarn and started winding it.

6. A small pile of assorted skeins became a giant ball.

7. I felt the need to knit something immediately!

8. I am making a lacy cotton shawl, perfect for summer.

 

(Projected future event: the yarns are all cotton or cotton blends, the colors are two different yellows, a red, and a peach/pink. Once I knit the entire shawl, I could dye it. Blue dye would look good combined with yellow and red and pink. Maybe I will do that.)

Why is my knitting bag so heavy?

August 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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So, I was putting away some stuff from my recent lake-side vacation with my family, and I picked up a bag of knitting so I could put the extra yarn back in the yarn drawer.  And the bag was really heavy!  Woops, I forgot it was full of rocks, too!

Here’s a picture of a bunch of fossils and other cool rocks I collected, on top of an almost-finished brightly-colored scrap yarn shawl I was working on while on vacation. Enjoy!

Pooling

July 29, 2012 at 1:56 am | Posted in projects, yarn stash | Leave a comment
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I’ve heard people say that pooling of colors is one of the reasons that they dislike using variegated yarns, but that’s actually one of my favorite things about variegation, and why I have a strong tendency to pick a multicolored yarn over a single color.

If you haven’t heard the term before, “pooling” refers to the tendency of variegated yarns to form blotches of color or strange patterns when they’re knitted up into a finished garment.  Pooling usually happens when the item you’re knitting or crocheting doesn’t have the same number of stitches in every row.  Something large, like a sweater, would be quite likely to have pooling of colors.  I guess some people prefer even stripes, or a more blended look without any large patches of color.

The reason I like it when my variegated yarns make odd patterns is that I enjoy the unpredictability.  What are the colors going to do next?  This is one of the reasons that I sometimes have trouble putting my knitting down and going to bed.  I want to see how the next row will look, and the next row, and the next row.

Right now I am knitting a shawl with some green and white yarn that I reclaimed from a sweater.  The sweater had two strands of yarn, the one I am using now, plus a dark blue strand.  The variegated yarn was sort of hidden behind the other yarn.  You could see that it was multi-colored, but the sweater was definitely dominated by the dark blue color and not by the greens.  Now I have separated it out, it’s as if I have freed the colors.  It’s actually a really pretty yarn by itself, and I am enjoying creating this shawl and letting those colors play.  I’ve got some stripes and I’ve got some blendy bits and I’ve got some blotches and I love it all.

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