Saturday, October 22, 2016

Here Comes Santa Claus!

It's been a busy year for Christmas stockings!  And I'm not done.  I was asked to make these two, which are Mary Maxim designs. However, the client specified, explicitly, that they were to be knit looser than the tension given in the pattern (which she had) so they would be bigger and very stretchy--to fit lots of goodies in!

I started the top of the first the round. I even knit the first row or two of the picture in the round, then casted on one stitch on either side of what would become the seam, and started working flat. Then I decreased those two stitches once I finished the picture and went back to in the round knitting. This did change my gauge a bit, and I had to be conscious of knitting loosely in the area between the picture and the heel.

On BOTH stockings, I knit the heel and turned the short rows...and then realized I was supposed to change colours!

I wasn't sure about Ms Claus. The black eyes, sitting above the glasses.  But once done, washed and blocked, and hung to be admired at a distance, I saw that it works.  The stockings actually got two baths because they took too long to dry the first time.  This extra time through the wash/dryer got them really soft (Loops & Thread "Impeccable") and really fluffed up the pompom.  The pompom was made using the second largest rings of the plastic ring pompom maker.  No middle ring (one got lost long ago). It was perfect. The key with the plastic ring is to totally fill it.

The great thing was I needed to buy just a ball of white to make these.  Even the bright green was in my stash! So, the 209gr made--a bit--of difference to my totals LOL. I also weighed all the ends from various projects I've been working on, and that all came to 20gr.  Every little bit, right?

Yarn In:  6523gr
Yarn Out:  229gr + 4966gr = 5195gr
Balance:  1328gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:   $220.79 /296 days = $0.75/day

Friday, October 21, 2016

Yarn Confessions

I came to my blog today to write a little post and try to get updated on some of the yarn I've bought recently.  I ended up totally changing the look of the blog! I've had the exact same look since I started the blog (Aug 2006). I'm not totally happy with the new look.  Some of the design process is stupidly confusing, using different pages for different aspects. I couldn't get the header photo to be the right size. I can't move where my title and subtitle are to make them easier to read. Some links at the side are in pink. I don't like how the grey overlay comes close to where the background image is "seamed".  If I were designing it, I'd have them line up. I did find that the width of my post area was set rather small, which is why when I tried to insert XL size photos, they would get cut off on the right. 
Anyway.  How does it look? Easy to read?

First update on incoming yarn.  In a FB group for home craft businesses, a woman posted that she had a bunch of wool to sell.  WOOL! Of course I couldn't pass it up. She posted one of the labels, which was the same as some I had picked up from Value Village before...I forget right now, but it's from PEI, I think. I offered to buy all her partial balls, for $45.  Included was 172gr of Classic Wool. The rest of the wool came to.... 1728gr (total, 1900gr). Wowzer! I've already made three pairs of itty mittens for the kindergarten kids! But I have tipped over to the "more brought in than used". I do have some Christmas stockings to weight, BUT  I still have to buy more for some more Christmas stockings!!

Yarn In: 1900gr + 4623gr= 6523gr
Yarn Out:  4966gr
Balance:  1557gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:    $175.79 + $45 = $220.79 /295 days = $0.75/day

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Drowning in Yarn

I feel like I'm drowning in yarn right now!  I've got yarn on the couch for two different stocking projects and two pairs of little mittens and a ball of reflective yarn.  I've got a big bag full of balls of wool I bought last week.  I've got a bin and bag of yarn from the basement to figure out how much more I needed for a couple projects.  I've got a big bag full of new yarn for those projects.

None of this can get put away yet!

I did get some great deals at Michaels' this week, and combined with what's already in my stash, it really helps my bottom line with custom orders.  Six balls of Impeccable--buy two, get one free and I needed three colours.  At first I was only going to get three balls, but at the last minute I grabbed three more since the purple striped mermaid blanket is popular and I really wanted to make sure I have enough for the order--if I have extra left, that's okay because the colours are popular.  LionBrand Homespun was on sale, not great deal, but at least some what of a deal.  And another yarn I needed I used a 50% off coupon.  All total, 1248gr for $40.06!

Yarn In: 3375gr + 1248gr = 4623gr
Yarn Out:  4966gr
Balance:  343gr more USED than bought
Costs:    $175.79/280 days = $0.63/day

Sunday, October 02, 2016


Megan was invited to her skating friend's birthday party, at Canada's Wonderland.  This girl is obsessed with elephants.  I found an elephant zipper pull when I was buying that last lot of yarn, but I also wanted to knit her an elephant!  I'd made one before, for my other daughter.

A trip through my personal yarn store and I couldn't find anything suitable in her favourite colours, blue and green.  I wanted to do striping, but all my greens were ugly moss greens. I did have one ball of Bernat "Mosaic" in the perfect's discontinued and I love it and it's an unspun acrylic so not all that durable.  But perfect colours. Sigh.  I went ahead.  I did have a few issues with the yarn pulling apart but I think it will be okay. 

 I didn't like the ear pattern, so I created my own.  Crocheted.

I almost forgot her tail!! I ran out of poly pellets, so I used aquarium gravel in the feet and the poly pellets in the trunk and belly. Not much else to say except when they came home from the park, she came up to the door with Megan, cradling "Ellie" in her sweater and a big grin on her face :)  I didn't weigh it before I stuffed it, but I weighed the left over yarn and it appears the Ellie used a whopping 52gr.  Not nearly enough to offset the wool I bought this past week!!

Yarn In: 3375gr
Yarn Out: 52gr + 4914gr = 4966gr
Balance:  1591gr more USED than bought
Costs:    $135.73/276 days = $0.49/day

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More Yarn!

My niece asked for a mermaid blanket for Christmas.  Now, she's not some little 3 year old.  She's 18.  And not little. In our family, we pretty much stop giving gifts when kids turn 18. But I've slacked off on gifts the last couple years because we haven't really been doing a big family Christmas anyway, so I thought, fine.  Also, I never made her sunhat that I promised her.

I needed some yarn for a Christmas stocking so I took a look at mermaid blanket yarns. She wants thick and cozy.

And red and purple.

What?! Red and purple do not place nice together.  I just can't do stripes. I did find a yarn with a mix of red and purple with some pink to soften it, as well as  a mainly purple mix in the same yarn line. But does she mean solid red body and purple tail?!  Better find out.  And I better find out what her younger sister wants.

So, I got five balls of Loops & Threads "Country Loom", $6.99/ball but the cashier said she had a 30% off coupon I could use, even though I was also using a 50% off one item coupon! I also got one ball of white Impeccable (127.5gr.  Really.  We're now using half gram weights for yarn?!).

I'm heading out this afternoon to pick up more yarn!  This time some wool from another crafty mom who is clearing out some of her stash. It'll be great for the mitts for the kindie kids.  Need to get started on that--the Farmer's Almanac says it's going to be a cold winter!

Yarn In: 897gr + 2478gr = 3375gr
Yarn Out:  4914gr
Balance:  1539gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $30.28 + $105.45= $135.73/271 days = $0.50/day

Thursday, September 22, 2016

In the Buff!

We were planning an epic camping road trip this summer and between that and our new boat, we did a lot of shopping at a large chain outdoors store.  Near the cash, there was a display of "Buffs". I thought it was a clever use of a bit of fabric.  But the price?! $25Cdn, aprox. Sure, it's a "high tech fabric" and seamless, but really...I could probably make one, right?  Especially since I have a serger!  I've been using wide headbands (almost like a bandana shape but the back is elastic, not a big knot) to protect my head from the sun (and cover up on bad hair days LOL). But a multi-purpose item would be even better!

Pinterest to the rescue to find the sizes, and see if others have actually done this.  Sure they have!! This was my starting point.
I dug through my knit fabric stash and found some I bought for a shirt but then found some holes in it.  It wasn't a big piece to start with so I wasn't sure I'd be able to cut a shirt around those holes.  But I didn't care if the holes ended up in the buff, so I went ahead. Cut, cut, serge. I didn't finish the ends.

 Here it is as a hat.  This was very useful at night, for sleeping, when it got a bit chilly. I also found that if I left it just folded in half, it made a good sleep mask AND helped hold my earplugs/earphones in!
 It was quite windy on the whale watching boat, so I wore it as a balaclava for a few minutes, but my kids hate that look, LOL.  Here I am channeling my inner-Ukranian.
 Inside the whale watching boat it filled the gap at my neck.
This one was made from a men's athletic shirt.  I made it a bit shorter as I didn't think I'd need it as a balaclava or hat since it's more of a hot weather thing.  Here, I wore it for inner tubing down a river in Quebec.  Fast drying!
Here's another one from a men's athletic shirt.  This is the balaclava look. My glasses do get a little steamed up, but they are large glasses, so maybe with my older ones it'd be fine. I might make one a bit longer and see if I can fold it around my forehead like you do for around the nose/mouth.  Around my neck is a triangle shaped headband I made, but I never finished off the threads so it didn't get worn. I also made a couple wide headbands from bathing suit material for at the water park and white water rafting. It was awkward with the thick floaty strap I have for my glasses.  And I find if I make the headband tight enough to really feel secure, I end up with a headache very quickly--even with the stretchy elastic.

I made one from the left over fabric from a dress for Lucy.  I wear this one a lot too.  I really like them when I'm driving. I can wear it as a wide headband, but then if I have to open the windows (I have no AC), I can stretch it out so it really contains my hair and stops it from blowing in my face. Also, at work (supervising kindergarten kids outside at lunch--I get to do the whole hour outside now!), it works so much better than a hat!! Although I loved sewing the hats (well...more on that later), these just seem so much more practical for my lifestyle!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hello There!

I had hoped to write a post before I went away, to schedule to post while I was away.  And I thought I might be able to find some downtime to write a post and then publish when we got to wifi.  Well, it wasn't that kind of vacation! We were either driving, doing an activity, or doing the things that make camping...camping (set up, cooking, organizing, etc).

Before I left I bought yarn for another Christmas stocking order.  I've started the fourth and last stocking, and I WAY over bought.  Good news is, I have another order that I can use it for, though I'll still have lots left probably.  I needed red and white.  The original stocking is not white-white though, more of a soft cream.  I found a comparable yarn but as I was checking out, I thought "I wonder if she did want it white-white though?".  When I got home I emailed her and sure enough, "white-white" was her preferred choice.  So back to the store! I ended up with 7 balls of "Impeccable".

I noticed yesterday that the yarn label doesn't have a suggest gauge!  It just says "Medium 4" and the free project needs 6mm needles.  This is a real disservice to knitters. There is too much variability with the "Medium" classification. And if you're trying to substitute for a yarn that you do know the gauge of, you can't just rely on the label! I know rarely do we knit to the suggested gauge, but it's a starting point to find out how the yarn wants to be worked for best results.

Anyway. Onwards, especially since I have to go buy more yarn.

Yarn In: 1586gr + 892gr =2478gr
Yarn Out:  4914gr
Balance:  2436gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $30.58 + $74.87= $105.45/258 days = $0.41/day