G’s Scarf, Finally Done!

  It took me most of the winter, but G finally has a new scarf to wrap up in when he goes out to play in the cold.

  He loves it, and I’ve learned a lesson; don’t let the kid pick the yarn if you want/need to have the project done quickly because it won’t even remotely inspire you and you won’t work on it.
  Ah well.  I wound up doing a random pattern of stripes, changing colors willy nilly til I reached the middle, and then repeated the same stripes in the opposite direction to the other end.  I did all of it, except for a 1″ band on either end, in garter stitch, so it’s good and chunky.  
  It’s not my favorite project for sure, but it will keep him warm, and he is happy with it, which is what really matters.  Now it’s on to one of my many, many other WIPs…


Curling Up With Winter Crafting

  It’s that time of year again…time to have 80 projects going at once, half of them gifts, all of them a quarter finished…

  Currently I have 2 main projects.  G has grown out of the scarf I made for him back when he was 1.5 and enjoying his first winter of being able to walk, so it’s time for me to knit up a new one.  I pointed him at my yarn stash and told him to pick a couple colors.

  He grabbed the navy and the (very) yellow green and I added the darker green, since I had a small ball of it and I thought it would tie the two together.  I’m doing it all in purl stitch to make it nice and nubby and warm and alternating the colors randomly to keep it from being too grown up looking.  Serious knitters, please ignore that I’m just winding the extra colors up through the side of my knitting.  I understand that it’s not the “right” way and that I ought to cut the tails and then weave them in and yadda yadda yadda…but this is a scarf for a not-yet 4 year old boy.  If I put too much effort into it, it just guarantees he’ll refuse to wear it.  His tiger costume pants for instance, have not gotten worn once since Halloween.  I’m doing my best to not throw a fit.
  My other project is the ongoing project that is my table cloth:

  We had our annual Friends’ Thanksgiving, and I can tell it was a success by the rumpled and food stained state of the table cloth alone.
  There were a few new additions, I updated G’s hand tracing (his big ol puppy mitts just keep growing!) and added R’s outline (just his hand…though an outline of the whole baby would be kind of hilarious…).  Keeping the table cloth up to date isn’t a huge time investment, but it isn’t one that gets done in a day either.
  I have a bunch of things I’m starting to do research on and work on that I’ll eventually share with you guys, but most of it is just in the planning stages right now.
  I have a recipe scheduled for Thursday, but I suspect most of you won’t be here since you’ll be enjoying Thanksgiving with your families.  The recipe will be waiting when you’re done.  In the meantime, here’s to a holiday season full of inspiration and plenty of time for creating!

Knit Baby "Quilt" Blanket

  I’m really excited to show you guys today’s project.  It’s one I’ve had in the works for an exceptionally long time and then had to keep hidden because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.  My dear, dear friends in Pittsburgh are expecting a baby and I finally handed over this blanket:
  This is a couple dozen knit stitches/patterns joined together into one blanket.
  To make the blanket I created 6 separate “scarves” of a certain number of stitches.  One scarf for instance is composed of all knit patterns that are 24 stitches wide.  Once the scarves were all completed I used the same yarn to stitch them together.  After they were stitched into a square I borrowed my mom’s foam mat and blocked it to get out some of the weird pulling spots where some of the patterns were narrower than others.  Finally, I crocheted a frame of single crochet stitches around the outside to stabilize everything.
  Probably the most challenging part of this project was finding enough interesting patterns that had the right number of stitches.  There were lots of them that were just 1 or 2 stitches off from what I needed.  Luckily, the internet is a wonderful resource for knitting, so I managed to muddle through.
  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I had this concept for a long time before I started executing it.  I love the “sampler” look in all one color.  With all the lacey stitches there are lots of holes for little fingers to explore.  My friends love it and I can’t wait to see their little one all wrapped up inside!

Beautiful, Ratty T-shirts

  My bathroom needed a new rug.  Our old one had traveled with us through 2 houses and an apartment and was in such bad shape that the last time we put it through the wash and then back on the floor, the rubber melted to the tile.

  I’ve been trying really hard lately to make more things and buy less.  It takes a lot of time, but it means I truly appreciate what I have, instead of just loading up on “deals” that wind up needing to be stored or thrown away in a year when I get tired of them, so I decided to try my hand at making my own rug.  The sizing didn’t quite work out for the space in the bathroom, but it’s PERFECT for a bathmat (which was also on its last legs).
  Pretty fancy huh?  So would you believe me when I tell you that my bathmat started out as this?
  The Mr. hadn’t cleaned out his dresser in a while and so he had a dozen or so white undershirts that were ready to be tossed.  Rather than condemn them to a landfill somewhere (after paying our garbage collection fee on them of course), I decided to put them to use.
  Using this tutorial, I cut the t shirts up, and then linked the pieces together, like this.  Heads up, this does get messy.  You’re going to lose lots of little “pills” of fabric when you stretch it.  I cut apart the remaining (above the armpits) portion of the shirts for rags.
  Once it was all hooked together I headed to the store to grab some dye.  I wanted something that would work with the coral theme I have in the bathroom, so I bought 2 boxes of RIT dye, one in scarlet and another in tangerine.
  I wound the tarn around two chairs in an attempt to get a somewhat serviceable hank.  Next time I’ll either put something between the chairs or start with them back to back…they slid closer and closer with every pass I made.  If I ever dye tarn again, I will also put some ties around the hank to keep it from getting all knotted.  Untangling my tarn after dyeing was by far the most arduous part of this process.
  I wanted to make sure I had some variation in color throughout the yarn, so I wrapped rubber bands around random portions of the tarn and used two different dye baths.  First I made a bath that was about 75% scarlet and 25% tangerine and then after dyeing and removing the rubber bands (and replacing them on other parts of the hank) I put it in a second bath with the opposite proportions.
  Once the tarn was dyed, I stuck it outside in the sun to dry.
My neighbors are very understanding of the fact it looks like I’m putting guts out to dry.
That or they’re afraid to ask too many questions.
  3 days later, when I’d finished untangling it all and had it wound into a ball, it looked like this:
Next to a ball rolled from a full hank of yarn
  Now it was time to knit!  I already knew the pattern I wanted to use.  I’ve been working on making this Ariel scarf  for…well, lets just say it was started before I was pregnant with G and leave it at that…but on size 5 needles, I can work for an hour and only add an inch.  Not very satisfying.
  Obviously, making a bath mat, and with big thick yarn to work with, it was going to go faster.  I broke out the size 15 needles and while I’m not going to say knitting this was quick, it was always really satisfying to see how much length I could add to it with just a row or two.
  I think I did 4 or so repeats of the pattern and then bound it off when I ran out of tarn.  A brand new, all cotton, specifically-designed-for-my-decor bath mat…and all it cost me was a couple bucks for dye.  Not bad huh?
  A note for those who are interested in trying this:
     Don’t be intimidated by the cable pattern!  Believe it or not, this is my first completed cable knit project.  Cable knitting takes a little bit to figure out, but this one has every step written out exactly, so it’s actually a great learning pattern.
  If you have any questions about how I did anything, please feel free to leave me a comment!