Join me as I share my crafty journey with you. I continue to expand my repertoire of hobbies. I knit, sew, crochet, bead and probably most importantly am a lover of science fiction. Occasionally I even pick up a book. I play Nerd Wars for Team Stargate Command which consumes most of my time.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Flags, Mitts and a Pot Holder...

     So, September is half over with already and the beginning of fall is next week.  It's crazy to me how fast this summer went.  I'm actually looking forward to fall/winter this year.  So in light of the cooler weather I made some fingerless mitts.  This was an impulse project, I have to say.  There are many projects on my mental list of things I want to do, this one sort of spoke to me.  Back in July of 2011, I went out to Jamesville to check out The Yarn Cupboard, which is a yarn shop.  I went out there specifically to buy Spud and Chloe.  This was back when I did research before getting new brands of yarn.  Spud and Chloe is designed by Susan B. Anderson.  She has a blog and designs many many patterns, one of which I had knit up.  I really enjoyed the pattern so I decided to try the yarn.  That's a really long lead into how I have this yarn sitting in my stash.  I've made two projects out of it so far and still had some yarn left over.  I was board at work one day so I was perusing through patterns.  When I find something I like, I usually do a mental check if I have yarn that will work for it.  In this case, I thought immediately of the Spud and Chloe, so this pattern went into my queue with yarn allocated.  We are between tournaments in Nerd Wars right now.  Usually I do small projects and sort of regroup mentally in the between time.  Now that I've been playing for a year I tend to feel a bit lost when there isn't a tournament going.  Its become a mental habit for me to find a way to meet a challenge and come up with a tie in for each project.  I cant believe I'm saying this but, without a direction, I find it hard to come up with projects by myself.  I needed a project to take with me to work.  I had made two dishcloths and a pot holder.  I wanted something different, so I printed off the pattern and grabbed the yarn and needles on my way out the door.  So Cozy Thermal Mitts were "born". 

This is a nice simple, well written pattern.  This picture does not do the mitts justice.  I just took pics a little while ago, the sun is setting, so I didn't have enough natural light.  The color is a bit darker in real life.  Here is a more accurate color picture, but its hard to see the detail in this one.
That's Jack in the window (our youngest), he was helping me.  This pair of mitts is for me, huzzah.  I made another pair out of this yarn that I really liked, but they were to match a hat.  Since I already have three hats of my own I decided to sell (hopefully) the hat and matching mitts, so I chose a different pattern for my mitts.  I really like these.  The thumbs are nice and long, so are both cuffs on the body, I think these will be sufficiently warm even in the cooler weather.  I have full mittens and gloves for when it gets really cool.  These will be good for driving since my fingers are free. 

     So I mentioned I made two dishcloths in the last two weeks.  One of my co-workers is from Russia originally.  He asked me to make a dishcloth in the colors of the Russian flag.  Luckily for me the Russian flag is three equal stripes of color, so it was pretty easy to "design".  If people like it, I can write up a full pattern.  It not very difficult to figure out, if you've been knitting for a bit.  I liked the Russian one so much I decided to do a few more.  So, since both myself and my husband come from German ancestry (several generations back), I decided to make a German flag dishcloth.  Here they are all finished.

Russian Flag.  I did this one with three rows of seed stitch at the top and bottom and four seed stitches at the sides. 
For the German Flag I did the same three rows of seed stitch top and bottom and only three seed stitches at the sides.  I like this one better.  I made both these right around September 11th, which really makes me want to figure out how to do an American flag.  The width of the stripes shouldn't be too difficult, figuring out how to do the stars in the corner I think will be tricky.  I would want it to be accurate too, so I'd have to get 13 stripes and then 50 stars.... hhhmmmmm... more to come on that most likely.

     When I got the yarn out for these two dishcloths I noticed that my little scrap pile was getting big again, so I made another scrappy pot holder.
I find that crocheting pot holders is a terrific way to use up cotton scraps.  This pattern is done "in-the-round" so it winds up double thick.  I love these!  Pattern:  Double Thick Potholder.

     So far, this is all I've gotten done.  I would really like to finish up the three tea towel toppers I did and get the ends woven in on the Star Trek Pot Holder.  Those wont take long.  I have a few more tea towels ready to be topped, so I may make a few more and then finish them all together.  What I really need to do is re-stock my cotton stash.  I have plenty of real Peaches and Cream, which I use for myself.  What I need is "sellable" cotton.  See previous blog post for more details on my OCD cotton differentiation...

   Well that's it for now, there isn't much going on in my real life except for working lots of overtime lately.  Happy Crafting!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Family and Some Long Awaited FOs

     Here goes two blog posts in one day!  Oh my.  I thought the bootie tutorial should stand on its own.  I've been up to no good like normal and I have some FOs.  First off, the over shrunken oven mitt was a no go.  It was too small for my recipient so I'll be knitting and felting another one.  This time I'll be checking the washing machine every couple of minutes.  As far as the little one goes, it does fit my hand, so I may just keep it for myself since I had originally intended to do that. 
I think it may have something to do with my color placement.  It seems that the darker blue felts more than the lighter blue.  See how the thumb stayed large compare to the cuff and palm.  I've heard people warn that different colors of the same yarn can do this.  Now, I've seen it for myself.  Live and learn.

     I finished up the six large white dishcloths for my co-worker for her son.  She was very excited when I gave them to her.  She also mentioned that her mother was using one of the ones she had gotten from me previously.  That's always nice for a knitter to hear.
I thought knitting white dishcloths was going to be tedious and boring.  I spread it out so it was actually kinda fun.  I personally don't like cloths this large, but I have small hands.  I wouldn't be opposed to knitting more of this size in the future.
 Don't they look snazzy.  I used up almost all my millends making these, which is good since I still have a whole cone of white yarn.

     I actually did some seaming.  I had four round dishcloths sitting around.  I wanted to give one of them to my Grandmother so I finished all four like a good little knitter.  (Well, I did that instead of going to bed.) 
I made sure to get the TV in the background... that may be Robert Picardo on the screen but it wasn't Voyager. ;)  Give ya 10 points if you can guess which episode that was.  Anyway they went from that to this:
I was attempting to use some scraps on the two on the bottom and right.  I ran out of the pinky purple with just a few rows to go on the one with white in it.  The dark purple stripe in the one with yellow is more running out of yarn.  It you don't focus on the colors, they're kind of cute.  The solid purple one has a mate and that's the yarn I picked up while we were in Lowville.  Those two cloths went to my grandmother. 

     On Saturday I visited my paternal grandmother.  She's in her eighties now, she still drives, lives independently and crafts probably more than I do, if you can believe that.  There was a pretty bad cold front going to move through the area, the hubs and I wanted to get back to the city before the front/storm hit the 81 corridor so I had about an hour to spend with her.  I could have spent the whole day.  I had my phone with me so I showed her what I could with my Stitch app.  She didn't know I did that much knitting.  So far I've only given her dishcloths, so how could she.  We got to talking and wound up "pattern swapping" at least as much as we could.  I told her about Ravelry, turns out she has been really wanting to get a computer so she can get patterns off the Internet herself.  I'm going to take my binders full of patterns up with me next time I go so we can do some proper pattern swapping.  Before I left, grandma gave me one of those large single needles that is for crocheting broom stitch lace.  She had three, I've been wanting to delve into some more crochet at some point, so that will be nice to have around.  All in all, it was a great time.  I wish it could have been longer!  Before we left my parents I made sure to "borrow" a few of my Mom's old tiny crochet hooks.  I took the smallest three since the size in mm wasn't printed on them.  I'm hoping one of them is small enough for me to do bead work.  I'll have to take a picture of my "new" tools.  The storm moved through the area ahead of schedule, about two hours ahead to be specific.  We ended up driving though the front.  It wasn't bad at all.  We hit just a small patch of really heavy rain.  Its really too bad since its quite dry op here.  Many farmers are already cutting corn since its already dying.  Its going to be a rough fall, the price of milk is very low and crops are dismal from the lack of rain.  There will be many farms going under this winter if the milk prices don't improve...  oops there I go rambling.

     So, before this weekend, I got another pair of mittens done.  These will be going with the striped ones to Norwood Norfolk Central School.
I think this shows off the Amazing better than the Camp Out Mitts.  This pattern was Warmest Mittens again just with the Amazing.  Its starting to grow on me a little bit.  I love the little yellow stripe the ended up in both the mittens, it ties them together nicely.  I need to get both the pairs in the mail.  Deadline in Sept. 30.  The mitten campaign will go on next year too.  Hopefully I can get more than two pairs done.

     When I noticed I had a bunch of scraps accumulating again I decided to start another cotton scrap pot holder.  This is the pattern I use for them:  Double Thick Diagonal Potholder.  More on that when I finish it.  Until then, Happy Crafting! 

On a side note, I dont usually go on about the badges I earn for Nerd Wars.  They're the equivelent of trophies or medals.  I got this one and I'm really proud of it.
I completed all the challenges!  All 18 of them, 6 in each round of the tournamnet.  Its the first time I did that, so I'm really happy.


Chaussons Mignons: A Photo Tutorial Assembly Post

     Today I will be bringing you a photo tutorial post of Chaussons Mignons.  So first, I want to make it very clear that this pattern is not mine.  I am simple throwing out some, hopefully helpful, instructions on assembly for a new knitter.  Here is the Ravelry page for the pattern:  Chaussons Mignons and a link to the designers blog:  Pruline en Vadrouille.  

     Okay, so back story on all this.  I made a pair of these as a baby shower gift along with a hat and some washcloths.  I have a whole family of knitters and crocheters, some have been crafting longer than I've been alive and some are just starting out.  One of my younger cousins is just starting out, so of course, I'm encouraging her to come to the dark side.  She asked me about these booties, I told her it was a pretty good pattern for a beginner.  I am doing a tutorial on the knitting and assembly mostly for her, but also for my other non-knitting readers in the hope that I can bring them to the dark side too. 

     I knit at a pretty tight gauge and I found that the booties knit from the original pattern are a bit small so these are the modifications that I made. 

Cast on 34 stitches, leaving a 12 inch tail.
Knit 14 rows. 
Bind off 12 stitches on each side so 10 remain.
Knit for 22 more rows and bind off leaving a 12 inch tail.

So, the first place I foresee confusion is the binding off of 12 stitches on each side.  There are two ways this can be done.  What I do, in order to minimize the amount of ends to weave in is this:

Bind off 12 stitches and then knit to the end of the row.  On the next row, bind off 12 stitches again, this will leave 10 in the middle.
These 10 stitches are knit for another 22 rows, more if needed.  Then bound off.  The end product is a T shaped piece of fabric.  Of course to make a pair of booties you'll need two of these so, repeat.
Voila two!  I should note that I slipped the last stitch of each row purl wise to get a nice even edge.  So, on to assembly.
     The first thing I do is manipulate the flaps on each bootie to see which color(s) are going to show depending on which one is one top.  I wanted orange to be the predominate color on the flaps so I did this:
I start on the left side and seam toward the back of the bootie first.  I used the yellow end (left bootie, end on the bottom, end left from bind off...)  I whip stitched these.  That's my go-to for dishcloth seams and this pattern.  There are some great YouTube videos for this, if unfamiliar. 
Here it is with a couple stitches done.  When starting I run the yarn through all three layers at the starting corner.  This tacks down the inside front flap.  This side seam is done the rest of the way with just the two layers.  The main thing about whip stitch is that you sew outward, away from the work, if that makes any sense.  Notice the orientation of my needle.  Here is the very next stitch:
As I said I slipped the side stitches so that's why the edge and the bind off edge look the same.  If you didn't slip the edge stitches just go though the single "peg" that is left between garter rows.  (Whip stitch doesn't have to be perfect, its one of those seaming techniques that can be fudged pretty well).  So finish up that seam and pull the remaining end to the inside for finishing.
Now for the front and right side seams.  The front is three layers so I usually treat two of the layers as one.  In this case I held the bottom two layers as the bottom and the top flap as the top. 
Once finished with the front, keep on working down the right side.  It will be back to two layers once you get to the side. 
Pull the end through to the inside and weave in the two ends.
Trim off the ends and now you should have one complete bootie.
Now, for the second bootie, do this all over again making sure the top flap is folded opposite from the first one.  I'm going to run all the pictures of the second one all together.
Left side seam.
Front seam.
Finished front and moving on to right side seam. 

Look at that, its a finished pair of booties!  So that's it, nice and simple.  Hope you all have enjoyed this photo tutorial.  I will be back with another blog for all my update work.  Happy Crafting!