Dog Beds for Cats and Baby Sweaters

IMG_8328My Archangel shawl is fixed!!  Last week, I shared that I picked a super stretchy bind off which ruined the structural integrity of my shawl.  It wasn’t pretty.  A crochet hook and a quick crochet chain down the bind off took care of the too-stretchy edge that I made.  The little extra heft at the edge doesn’t detract from the beauty of the design at all.

Next, I cast on for a Sproutlette baby dress.  If you’re confused by the picture below, I totally cannot follow directions and ended up with a shirt instead of a dress.  The [k3, Kf&b until 3 sts remain, K3] turned into [k3, kf&b]* *repeat in my mind.  Needless to say, I didn’t have enough stitches for a flowy skirt so I salvaged the project and turned it into a shirt.  I also omitted the front lacy leaf panel because I thought it would fight with the variegated yarn. IMG_8320 copyIMG_8323 copyI grabbed some polymer clay to create a tiny little button.  Supposedly, polymer clay holds up well in the wash.  I really hope so!  I’ve ordered some adorable hand-made polymer clay buttons from Etsy.  If you want to see ridiculous cuteness in the form of buttons, check out digitsdesigns and TessaAnn on Etsy!

This little dress is intended for my soon-to-be-born niece.  I’m hoping to have it in the mail sometime this week.

A week or so ago, my friend, Becky, informed me of a mega sale on New Zealand wool yarns and I couldn’t resist and bought 7 huge 250g hanks of super bulk yarn.  I’ve been really wanting to make a cat bed for the 2 animals that stalk my wet knitting.  Extra anti-cat pins are about the only thing that will keep them off of blocking wet wool.  So, this super-discounted yarn was the perfect opportunity to provide my felines with wool specifically intended for their use!

I’ve cast on a pattern called Dog Basket.  It requires you to hold 2 bulky yarns at once.  The picture below is deceiving… this thing is HUGE.  I’m hoping that it will shrink a bit when I felt it so it doesn’t cover the ENTIRE living room floor when it’s finished.  🙂

IMG_8327 IMG_8325And, I’ve dyed many new yarns for my Etsy shop.  I show a couple in the video above… but here’s a sneak peak at another one…IMG_8281

New Yarn = Rethinking How to Plan a Sweater

Drops AirAfter reading many gushing reviews on this yarn, I placed an order and waited *somewhat* patiently for “the softest and fluffiest yarn ever” to make it’s way across the ocean and onto my front porch.  It’s called Air and it’s by Drops out of the UK.  Composed mainly of alpaca with some poly and merino thrown in, it’s not plied but blown into a tube to form the yarn!  They say it’s 30% lighter than plied yarns.

It really does feel like you are holding air or a cloud in your hands when you pick it up.  It’s remarkably light and fluffy!

I may have gone overboard by ordering 2 sweaters worth of this yarn, especially since I’m trying to knit only out of my stash.  But now that it’s become part of my stash, I’m still working towards that goal.  Right?!?

Even though it is impossible to capture the feel of a yarn with a photograph, I’m still going to try.  Here it is in pink.  It looks and feels like cotton candy.

AirNow, it’s time to get to work and figure out what do to with this stuff. It would be great for anything next to the skin. And, since I bought so much of the yarn, I’m thinking a sweater would be perfect.

First things first, I knitted up a swatch.  And then I mulled over ideas for a plan of attack.  Since my last sweater was a huge challenge with the near-impossible sleeve cap, I’ve decided to change my approach.  Instead of starting blind with only body measurements, I’ve instead pulled out my favorite store-bought sweater with a tape measure in hand.

swatchandaplanThe measurements of the much-loved wearable sweater are plotted out and I’m going to follow this shape carefully with my new project.  Of course the store-bought sweater is made from a finer yarn so I’m thinking of adding a 1/2″ of ease everywhere to accommodate for the thicker yarn.  And, I had no idea that there was waist shaping in the old sweater until I measured.  That little bit of shaping really must make a difference to the overall silhouette.

I’m excited to cast on but I still need to figure out things like stitch pattern, stripes or no stripes, cardigan or pullover, pockets and details.  But, besides planning my sweater, I’ve been working on adorable items for my Etsy shop.  Here’s a peek:

markers

The Ugly Sweater Finally Has Pieces

stripedpiecesWorking out of my stash with fingering-weight yarn held double, I’ve finally got all of the sweater body pieces off my needles.  The stripes are purposefully mismatched to add to the overall ridiculousness of the sweater.  I’m going for over-the-top garish on this one.  I hope I’ll actually wear it when it’s finished.  🙂

It looks like there won’t be enough purple left to knit the collar and cuffs.  Perhaps red would make the next best option?  Or, maybe the collar and cuffs should be different colors?  And, I think I’ll be picking up the stitches around the sleeve and knitting it in place instead of knitting separately and seaming into place.

stripedzipA purple zipper is in transit to my house but I found a red zipper at the craft store last night.  Now that I’ve got the red zipper next to my sweater, I’m leaning towards purple.  But, it’s still nice to have options.

On another note, I’m trying to work out of my stash to get it down to a manageable size.  So, as I was browsing the long list of knitting blogs that I follow, a review of Drops Air came to my attention.  It was described as the “FLUFFIEST SOFTEST YARN EVER” – emphasis not mine.  You can read the review over at bamcrafts.com.  But read at your own risk.  I just placed an order for some of the yarn.  Soft and fluffy are my weaknesses, it turns out.  I apologize to all the yarn currently in my stash for their crowded living conditions.  It’s just going to get worse, unfortunately.

If you are interested in giveaways, another fellow blogger, whilewalkingmydogs.com, is running a card giveaway.  For 31 days, if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win her card of the day.  The cards are all handmade and she even shows you how she made them.  I recently won a card.  (Thank you Grace!)

Just for fun, here are a couple more beauty shots of my WIP.

stripedpocketstriped

Recycle Trash Into Awesome Knitted Stuff

tshirtrugenjoyedA few months ago I posted a video and pattern about turning old t-shirts into a rug.  Until I was recently contacted by Recycled Into Yarn, I had no idea how many ways you can reuse old t shirts and curtains and jeans and plastic bags in knitting!  My t-shirt rug pattern is featured there this month.  🙂

Once I’ve worked through my next couple of queued projects, I want to cast on for this t-shirt yarn bag that I found there by Randi of Dukes and Duchesses.  I don’t think I’ll ever throw away another stained shirt or tattered sheet again.  Who knew about the knitting potential of all these unwanted things?!?

There’s even a free pattern for turning plastic shopping bags into a pair of slippers.  I wish I had stumbled across this site and these ideas sooner.  But, for now, I’m plugging away on my skew socks and getting ready to swatch for my Bill Cipher sweater.  So excited for the new sweater.  🙂

Knitting in Public: Is it Possible?

skewtooAs is usual with motherhood, my life is sometimes dominated by the activities of my children.  I’ve spend the past couple of days in another city watching a robotics competition for my oldest child.  There’s another Skew sock on my needles in a crazy rainbow colorway.  I really, really tried to make progress on the sock while sitting in the stands!  But it was impossible to knit, watch the competition, and talk to the other parents while reading the pattern instructions.  I just couldn’t pull it off.

gravityfallsMy plan was to finish this pair of socks before returning home to find my box of yarn from Knit Picks for the Bill Cipher sweater that my daughter requested.  I’m really looking forward to designing this latest sweater which will incorporate at least one new-to-me knitting technique.cipheryarnI’m going to try to enjoy knitting the socks while mulling over ideas for the sweater.  It’s tempting to put the socks away and move onto the sweater but it makes me crazy to have multiple projects going on at once.  I envy others who can have 15 projects going and not give it a second thought.  It makes me break out into a sweat just contemplating it.  🙂

Nautty Baby- Giving Thanks!

NauttyClose2A huge THANK YOU to Missy’s Crafty Mess for test knitting my latest pattern!  Her feedback was very helpful!  If you check out her blog, you can see her sweet little off-white Nautty sweater.

Usually, I post a free pattern of my latest project here on the blog.  But, if you’ve been reading, then you know I’m working towards selling my patterns.  This latest baby sweater pattern is available for sale on Ravelry.com but, until the end of the month (11/30/2014), readers can download the pattern for free!  Click to access it directly here.  You may need to have a Ravelry account.

Yarn dyeing is on my agenda for today!  I’m so excited and have some crazy color combinations planned.  My tech-able mittens are still a work-in-progress.  My hubby thinks they need to fit snug but I kinda like to have some wiggle room in my mittens for my fingers.  How do you wear your mittens?  Tight or loose?

NauttyBoy

New One Skein Wonders

mitt2I’m still working on using up my hand-painted worsted-weight yarns.  Each mismatched ball of yarn really needs to become its own project.  Hats, socks and mittens come to mind when I think “one-skein wonders”.  I’ve knitted hats and socks.  It’s time for some mitts!

My daughter requested fingerless mitts with each finger separately wrapped with its own little finger hole.  Not a problem!  Except that I’m creating my own pattern as I go along and it turns out that the mitt was too long in the hand.  Instead of tearing it all out, I opted for “mitt surgery”.  The last time I cut into my knitting, it was to lengthen a sock foot.  This time I am removing yarn to shorted the length of the mitt.mitt3And, now it fits!  It only took about 20 minutes to complete this surgery.  Much, much faster than tearing out each finger and getting back to the palm of the mitt!mittEveryone seems to love the color combo of this yarn but no one wants to actually wear it.  After I’ve completed the second mitt, I’m going to over-dye these with a grey or navy to tone them down.  And, I’m taking notes along the way to modify for a pattern release.  The plain stockinette needs sprucing up a bit and the fingers need some adjusting.  Maybe the pinkie finger needs to be shortened?

Day of the Dead Shrug- Finished!

DayofDeadShrug6With 4 days to spare, the shrug needed for my daughter’s costume is finished!  I can’t wait to see her all dressed up with the Day of the Dead make up applied.  Made from soft cushy wool, she’s sure to stay warm and the shrug doesn’t hide the front of her dress- as requested.

I’m pretty happy with the end results but if I had to do it over I would omit the 2 inches of positive ease I included in the back.  (Why did I think she needed so much ease?!?)  I would also start with fewer sleeve stitches.   (I have no explanation for why I did that!)  At least there’s room to grow so she should be able to wear this for a while.

DayofDeadShrug4The inspiration for the construction comes from instructions for a custom top-down raglan provided by Pamela Costello that you can find here– for free!  You could easily create your own custom raglan shrug with Pamela’s directions.  Just omit the front increases.  Once the shrug has enough stitches to separate the sleeves, bind off the back and front stitches while moving the sleeve stitches to waste yarn.  Then pick up the sleeve stitches and knit down to the cuff while reducing as needed.  Lastly, add a lacy crochet trim around the cuffs and the neck/back opening.

It’s hard to decide what will be up next on the needles.  Christmas is coming soon but I do not feel like gift-knitting.  I feel more like selfish-knitting!  🙂

DayofDeadShrug3

DayofDeadShrug

Procrastination Projects Continue

redbeeskneesThe mushroom sweater must be on my mind.  The only fabric in the entire store that screamed out to me when picking the lining for my new Bees Knees purse was this colorful pink fungi pattern.  That’s got to mean something.

Since my daughter claimed the original Bees Knees purse for herself, I’ve been meaning to knit up another one that I can carry.  To get a larger gauge, I held a worsted-weight yarn double.  This red yarn has been sitting in my stash for years and now all but one lonely skein has been put to good use.  (Yay!)  There’s less than a day’s worth of work left on this project and I believe I will pick up the needles for my mushroom sweater afterwards.  I’m ready.

Pocket Bag- Take Two

Bees1My first attempt at a pocketed bag was a dismal failure.  The idea of abandoning the bag altogether had crossed my mind but the yarn was already out and I had a vague idea of how overcome some of my previous problems.

Step One:  Abandon the garter stitch rectangle bottom and start with Judy’s Magic Cast On.  This way, I can immediately start the pattern in the round.

bees2Step Two:  Increase each round at the ends to create stitches for the sides which consequently produced a lovely oval bottom for the bag.  While I was knitting the bottom, I was running different handle ideas through my mind and I remembered that I had these plastic handles stashed away.  I found them at a quilt store a few years ago and never found the right project.  Perhaps this will be the bag that they will belong to.  Time will tell.

bees3Step Three:  When desired increases have been made, continue knitting in the round until the desired pocket placement has been reached.  This is where I stopped and knitted up a pocket.  Stockinette is for the inside and I’ve added a bit of pattern to the top so it matches the bag when you peek inside the pocket.  The pocket looks funky and curled but because the yarn is acrylic it won’t block out so it’s going to have to stay this way until it gets stitched down in the inside of the bag.

bees4Step Four:  Knit across to the pocket placement, put number of pocket stitches on holder and start knitting instead from my newly created pocket.

So far, it’s going much better than my first attempt.  I’m not in love with it yet but I’m hoping that it’ll work out okay.  The plan is to rib the top of the pocket, add a couple of pleats to each side to narrow the top which will hopefully produce a rounded doctor’s bag look.  I’m not sure yet how I’m going to attach the handles.  And the last big question- to line it or not to line it?  I’m terrible at sewing irregular shapes but I love a lined bag.