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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stash Enhancement

     I partook in some cold sheeping this year for the purposes of conserving my craft space and with the hopes of saving up some funds.  Sadly, the Hubbs and I suck at saving money and well, I really like yarn.  So, for at least a little bit here, I'm off my self proclaimed fiber diet.  When I was perusing my stash the other day I realized I've been remiss in sharing my most recent acquisitions.  Back in April I decided to sign up for Expression Fiber Arts April club.  She gives out the theme or an inspiration photo but the yarn is a surprise when it comes in the mail.  Candi called this one Happiness, it's 100% silk in worsted weight.

I talked about the shearing festival in May and the yarn and fiber I acquired from that.  Also in May, some Malabrigo Rios in the Sunset colorway found its way home with me.  I think they had been buried in the shop for quite a long time.
This photo doesn't do this colorway justice.  Its very golden and warm.  They have the old style labels which is why I think they waited for me for a long time.  I want to do something special with these. 
     I picked up a kit made especially for the Jeweled Cowl class I was supposed to be teaching back in May.  (The dates didn't work out for people and I've been too lazy to schedule another class.)  The yarn is Holiday Yarn Skinny Ewe.  Jennifer is local and I'm using some of her other yarn to make a shawl now.  I wish I knew where she got the beads from because they're perty!
The colorway is Aqua-Marina.  Since I expected to knit with this soon after I bought it I wound it immediately.  It was the easiest cake I've ever wound.  No tangles, no knots ah, it was yarn winding nirvana.  (Its the little things for us knitters sometimes.)
     From June 'til about last week I was cold sheeping, well except for this one skein...  I bought it originally for the Team Stargate Swap.  I was going to make something for my swappee, a shawl was my thinking.  Therefor the purchase was justified.
It is Prism Lace Wool in the Sky colorway.  It's 1460 yards!  I thought that was pretty sweet.  Because I'm the queen of procrastination I didn't get around the that shawl and wound up going with plan C for that swap.  Now its mine... all mine... Well, I think it will still be a shawl someday and I should make that plural since there is so much yardage. 
     So now we're up to this month chronologically.  I received yarn in my swap package.
It is Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud which is a laceweight yarn.  It is mostly black with very subtle turquoise blended in it as well.  It's very pretty.  I've been wanting to knit up some shawls for a select few of my former co-workers.  I'm working on one now and I have two more that I really want to get done before Chirstmas this year.  So with recipient #2 in mind I went shopping and came back with this:
This is not a great picture, the fall weather has been dismal the last week or so.  It is Malabrigo Sock in the Arbol colorway.  I was looking at some other yarns while I was there but everything else is way more expensive for less yardage.  There is a reason I love Mal, not just for the irresistible colors but for the value as well.  In real life there is a bit more green.  It sort of reminds me of copper that's starting to patina.  The pattern I've picked out for this is a Boo Knits and its beaded.  I got this and another skein at Sheep Thrills! Yarn Company.  They relocated, oh five or so months ago, while I was cold sheeping and I finally got over there to see the new location.  It's very nice, better parking, a bigger more open space.  Of course I didn't know where anything was anymore, but I still found what I was looking for easily.  The space may not actually be bigger but it feels bigger and it is more open.  So while I was there on a mission this caught my eye: 
It is Malabrigo Lace in the Sunset colorway.  I really like this color and again you cant beat the yardage for the price. 
     That sums up the yarn purchases.  I've been plugging along on the Lilac Wish Lace Shawl and I've run myself out of yarn a few rows short.  I'm going to see if I can track down some more of the Lavender Buds colorway.  I've also been working on some baby gifts for some co-workers.  I'll have more on those few projects later.  Some button sewing and blocking needs to happen.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More on the Sewing Front and Pom-poms!

     As I stated in my last blog, I had done some sewing for a swap and I couldn't show off my new experiments.  Well, my swappee has gotten her package so now I can!  I ended up doing a fair amount of sewing for that swap, which I'm fairly proud of.  So, first up, the now familiar drawstring bag:
Well actually its everything because I packed up the box the moment I finished the needle roll and was taking the pictures hastily and at night...  In front of the drawstring bag is a zippered notions pouch.  There are several tutorials on Pinterest so I just picked one and ran with it.  The dimensions I used for my fabrics were 7 1/2 inches by 6 inches.  Basically, you want to be just slightly wider than your zipper and then the depth of the bag is totally up to you.  The method I used doesn't have any fabric tabs on either side of the zipper.  This eliminates the pucker that can happen when that method is used.  I also interfaced the outside fabric, to add stability, and I boxed the bottom corners of the bag.  So it stands there on its own.  I think it turned out pretty darn good, considering I was making most of it up as I went.  I think when I make the next one, I'll put some pockets inside, 'cause pockets are awesome and there can never be to many.  Off to the left is a needle roll.  I have a picture of the inside:
I used a tutorial I found on Pinterest for this one as well and again I altered it to fit my purposes.  The original tute can be found here:  Nesting Sticks.  It is designed for long straight knitting needles to be housed in the back pocket.  Since my swapner wanted a roll to house either crochet hooks or DPNs I omitted the largest pocket.  So that entailed cutting two pieces of the next largest sized material.  I also added two inches to the dimensions so that I could flip down the top, to keep the needles/hooks from falling out once rolled up.  For this particular roll my dimensions ended up being two pieces that measured 11 1/2 X 18.  (That's all I had of the blue batik, I figured 1/2 inch wouldn't make too much of a difference.)  One piece (the really thin light blue fabric) that was 7 1/2 by 18 and one that was 5 by 18.  That's the smallest pocket, the one I had to piece to get the right dimensions.  I like the effect actually.  It also ties the inside to the outside.  The ties are 12 inches each grosgrain ribbon.  If/when I make another one of these, I'm going to use narrower ribbon.  It doesn't tie all that well.  I'll probably also use bias tape on the top of the pockets so I don't loose any height.  The front pocket end up a bit on the short side in my opinion.  (Or I could add another inch or so when cutting in the first place.)  I only changed the overall size of my needle roll, the rest of the tutorial was followed verbatim.  I made two of the very front pockets a little wider incase my swapner ever wants to use it for interchangeable needles.  The cables should fit in the front nicely.  Overall I think I'm proudest of this one.  It wasn't difficult or anything, but I think its the most I've stretched my sewing/altering skills thus far.  The other item I sewed for this was a downright pain in the patoot.  But it was a valuable lesson for me.  I'm very much like my mom and don't like small, tedious, piddly things.  
I made an apple pin cushion.  It turns out quite small and is therefor a pain to sew together.  The finishing techniques are pretty cool though.  You use two buttons to make it apple shaped.  I wouldn't mind doing this again, but I will be blowing up the section pieces so it winds up quite a bit bigger.  I also need to work on my hand sewing skills.  Here is the pattern I used:  The Guardian.  Considering I didn't do a test run on this one, I think it turned out okay.  That's it for the sewing portion of this swap.  I did knit up a pair of fingerless gloves.
The pattern is:  Vancouver Fog and its free!  The yarn I used is Berroco Ultra Alpaca in the Yucca Mix colorway.  (It's a skein of the infamous bus yarn)  The color is prettier in real life, it doesn't photograph well.  It is a 50/50 blend of wool and alpaca.  From what I can tell, they dye the wool but leave the alpaca natural so there's this, I guess, tweed effect. It looked like sea glass on sand in my opinion, very earthy and beachy.  The stich def is also really good and its super soft.  I think I'm going to make a pair for myself.  I also did some bead work for the swap, with some no so helpful helpers...  Reese really likes shiny beads and metal.  She tried to eat another stitch marker.
I really stuck to a blue theme for this one.  It was more or less unintentional.  Once I found the butterfly fabric it all fell into place.  I wanted the stitch markers to roughly match all the bags since I was making them as a roughly matching set.  I'm using wire and crimp beads now to make knitting markers.  It's easier, by a long shot, and they wind up being snag-less.  I wish I would have found this method first.  The three little packages in the front there in that first picture were three soaps.  One for each of my swapner's favorite shows.  I stumbled across the coolest Etsy shop when I was searching for nerdy swap things.  She's called the Merchant of Gallifrey.  Her shop is here and its filled with all sorts of wonderfully nerdy things.  I'm kicking myself for not ordering anything for me.  Okay so that's pretty much it for the swap.  I received some wonderful things myself, including two books by a new to me author.  (I've already finished the first book and am about 2/3 through the second.)  And a shawl made from a Boo Knits pattern.  I really like her patterns as does my swapner, she it making her way through all of them.
 Here are the contents of my package.  I need to get some better pictures of the shawl, it is truly magnificent and beaded!  I'm looking forward to doing some spinning.  I got some fiber in my last swap and some back at the shearing fest.  I really just need to practice some more, now I really don't have and excuse not to.  
     I've finished up some other things as well.  Last weekend I churned out a baby hat.  I decided to add pom-poms to the peaks.  Its all done now, I just need to pass it on to my friend.  
  The pattern is:  Baby Tri-Peak Hat and its another free one!  The yarn is the Ella Rae Classic Superwash that I dyed myself a few months ago specifically for this hat.  I used that same yarn to make the pom-poms, then I overdyed them with Wilton's violet.  I really hope Jess likes it.  I also finished off the hat for her.  I finished the knitting back in March, this hat too just needed a pom-pom. 
Jess had asked for a big pom-pom so I used what was left of the skein to make it.  The pattern is:  Whitecaps Hat.  This is my fourth rendition.  The yarn is MadelineTosh Chunky in the Jasper colorway.  I love this yarn; its so incredibly soft. 
     Well that it for what I've been up to lately.  I've been reading up a storm just lately.  A friend of mind recommended a book.  It was very good, and a nice quick read.  It was "Brain on Fire; My Month of Madness" by Susannah Cahalan.  It's an autobiography and it details her plight with a pretty rare disease.  I don't want to spoil too much since I found the search for what was plaguing her to be very suspenseful and what drove the plot for the first half of the book.  I found it very interesting because of my medical/scientific background.  It was essentially an episode of House, but it book form.  Quite frankly it was terrifying as well.  Nothing scares me more then the thought of loosing my mind, my sense of self bit by bit and not knowing why or how to fix it.  Seriously good book!  Alrighty folks, that's it for now.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!