Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Confession

I'm doing so much charity knitting that yarn is just flying here!  Yet, I'm in that age old conundrum--not enough yarn to use up in a project, so I must buy more in order to use this up, but then I'm left with leftovers again.  Just fresh leftovers now, LOL. 
So yes, I did buy some more yarn on the weekend, but just two balls of Astra, $4.99 each.  Kind of annoyed since it had been on sale the week before.  Oh well.
So that's an additional 100gr, $11.30 to add to the totals:

Yarn In:  10 366+ 100gr = 10 466gr
Yarn Out:  needs to get updated, I've done a lot; must remember to include Hugh's slippers and the green blanket
Amount Spent:  $148.50 + $11.30 = $159.80
Average:  $2.62/day.  

I swear, after I get this load of charity items done, I'm not buying yarn again for awhile!  I went to a machine knitting group today, and last night I had to find 200gr of yarn to take for a scarf.  I was having trouble finding something suitable!  I went right to the bottoms of some of the bins and even found some stuff I didn't quite remember I had.  First up on the list is two patterns from Knit n Style (last fall/summer), and some ribber lesson patterns from Knitwords.  And I'm hoping to test knit a shawl for a friend...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yarn Confession Time

It might seem I have a lot of yarn coming in right now....mostly thrift store finds that I'm using up quite quickly as I'm making another pile of hats/scarves to donate! 

I  took a look for blankets and sweaters at the Salvation Army, but there was nothing.  There was one "Old Shale/Feather and Fan" baby blanket in blue Bernat Co-ordinates, but I couldn't bring myself to buy that to unravel it.  And it's not really good yarn for hats.  I did look through the scarves and found some.  One was a wide dark brown scarf, looked like it was made on a knitting loom; it yielded 157 gr, one was a garter stitch scarf knit very nicely, but a bit dense; it's got 132gr, and the other scarf is a soft cream and bright pink...however once I started to unravel it I realized they hadn't carried the yarn up the sides so it ended up being small balls; 85gr of cream and 28gr of super bright pink.  I also picked up some odd balls, including two large balls of a sage green weighing in at 289gr.  All this yarn came to 890gr for $7.

Then I went over to Michaels and picked up some sale yarn.  Two balls of Bernat Waverly marked down to $2.49 each.  This feels like a nice yarn, though I wonder if the gauge of 18st on 5mm might be a tad floppy.  Two balls of Loops & Threads "Impeccable" for $4.00 each.  Again, the gauge is 18st on 5mm, but this yarn (at least, some colours) seems flatter, not round and plump.  I also picked up a ball of "Necessities" also by Loops & Threads for $2.99 (was $4.99, used a 40% off coupon).  This has a gauge of 17s on 5mm needles, yet doesn't seem any thicker than the other yarns.  I wanted to try the Vanna's Choice yarn, but the gauge on it was crazy sounding--like, 15 or 16st to 4".  What ever happened to the days of the only choice being Canadiana, Decor, or Classic Wool, all at 20st/4"?  It seems hard to find 20st/4" yarn, except for those 3.  They've all moved to 18st/4".  I did notice a new 22st/4" yarn and that's always been a hard one to find.  Anyway, all this yarn was 542gr for $18.04.

Total In:  8934gr+ 890 + 542 = 10 366gr
Total Used:  5405gr
Balance:  4961gr more bought than used

Total Amount:   $123.46 + $7 +$18.04 = $148.50
Average:  $148.50/57 days = $2.60 per day

So my totals are all up a bit, however, I have ten hats and one cocoon to weigh, and I'm off to go start another hat with the yarn from yesterday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yarn Confession Time

(Edit--I have gone back and changed my yarn in and yarn out totals to reflect ALL yarn, not just bought yarn)

Back when I was making the items for the First Nations cold weather clothing drive, I asked on Freecycle for yarn donations.  I got none.  As I was finishing up the items, my mother-in-law phoned me to let me know her friend was giving away a lot of yarn and fabric and did I want any?  Uh, how can I say no?  I hate to see orphaned yarn!  Some of it was odd balls, and some of it was multiple balls of a particular yarn.  There was quite a bit, in four colours, of Sear's "Giselle", a bulky mohair blend, for example.  All together, there was 4628grams!  Then, on Sunday, in exchange for completing a pair of baby booties for another of my mother-in-law's friends, I received 192gr of yarn. 
I decided to keep my donated yarn totals separate from what I've bought.  Although it might get tricky when trying to figure yarn out amounts if an item was part my stash, part donated. 

This morning I went to Value Village.  I passed by the yarn section and got some great purchases:
LionBrand Homespun        323 gr              $2.99
Mary Maxim Royale            165gr              $3.99
Bouquet "Cindy"                  261gr              $3.99
Donation                           4820gr
Total In                                 749gr           $12.40 inc HST
Year Total In                          8934gr            $123.46

I have a couple things to show that will bring the total out down.
Donate to Adriana                   122gr
Donate to Kim                         698gr
Afghan                                     679gr
Swatches                                   125gr

Total Out  (today)                  1624gr

Year Out Total:          5405gr  
Year In Total:              8934gr
   Year Balance             3529gr more IN than used
Costs:  $123.46/50days = $2.47/day

I have another bag of Bouquet Cindy in the same colour, different dye lot--300gr, and the Value Village tag is still on--$4.99  I wonder how they price their yarns!  Look at that Homespun price!

Sock Monkey

A few girls in the family like sock monkeys and I thought I'd whip one up after Christmas.  I had some issues with the ears and duplicate stitching the face though, so he never got given and will go live in the box under my knitting machine.
He was made on the SK155 using Patons Decor.  The pattern (Lyndee Sock Monkey) called for Patons Classic Wool, but I didn't see any reason to use a handwash wool for a kids' toy!

I added some short rows to give him a bit of a sitting bum, but I don't think I did enough.
The totals were already included in my Yarn Out totals awhile ago.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Quick Project

If you count most of a day, and 4 attempts as "quick" LOL!
Meg got a turquoise coat for Christmas, and she either didn't get a scarf, or didn't like it, and I realized I still had yarn left from making a hat that she then "stole" from me last year.  It's even a little short on her.  I told her I'd make her a scarf.  She said she wanted the same pattern as the hat.
I got working on the scarf, doing the same design as the one I just showed.  I wasn't happy with it (I was trying to make the one tail longer).  Then I realized it didn't have the lace design.  So, I started a cowl instead.  I had a hard time getting into doing the lace transfers.  The decrease is a central double decrease--easy enough.  But when you move the stitch over to form an eyelet, it's no where near where the double decrease is supposed to be!  I finally clued in.  And it went very quick.  However, I just knew it was too big.  Meg got home from school and I wrapped it around her neck, and indeed, it was too big.  Then I tried again, and it was too snug to pull over her head.  The next attempt worked.  I started with an open cast on, and a loose gauge, and with each pattern repeat, I tightened up the tension one full number, then took it off on waste yarn.  I used up every inch of the left over yarn doing the garter stitch borders.

She loves it and wears it.  And it used up 38grams of a yarn I can't get more of (Elann Quetzal or something like that).  I already included this amount in my previous totals, so I'm not officially down anymore.  However, I do have some slippers and a big blanket coming up!

I do figure that I am down to $2.52/day yarn expenditures (Dec 27-Feb 8; 44 days; $111.06)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Patience Helps

....or a good hiding spot.

Last year (as in the winter of 2010/2011, not "last year" as in the fall of 2010), I tried making a slouchy hat in some Louet "Bonnie".  The hat was going okay, but although the pattern was easy, it was also really easy to goof up, which of course, I did.  It was also difficult to figure out exactly where the goofs were.  They weren't too obvious, but enough to annoy me, and I put the hat on hold.  (I just received a comment on the original post about this hat!  I seriously do not remember that I had actually finished it before starting to rip it out!)  Then I started mittens, but after a couple attempts, they were still on the small side.  The hat went into a drawer in a cabinet in the dining room (the other parts of the cabinet house papers, kids' craft stuff, Rob's odds and ends, etc; I got one draw for knitting UFOs, etc).  The mitts went into the ottoman in the TV room. 

This new year, I started clearing out the draw.  There were odd balls to put away, patterns to file, a few things that just needed mending or a button or tails woven in.  There's a couple bigger projects that need finishing or decisions, but I had made an obvious dent in the drawer.

I was going to my parents just after New Years and I couldn't find my flip top mitts that I made last winter.  I also wanted an easy project, so I decided to rip out the too small mitts and make some flip top ones.  I did them two at a time.  It was going well, but after doing the thumbs, I was concerned about the amount of wool.  Usually, you do the inside part of the mitts, then pick up and do the flip top.  I decided this time, I would do the flip top first.  This would also ensure that the colour transitions remain smooth on the outer part of the mitt.  I also opted to shape the tops of the mitts on the outer edges as I have short pinkies and these are hand-specific anyway.  Anything to get a few extra inches of yarn!

Once I got done both flaps, I had only a small bit of Bonnie left.  I decided for the inner part I would use a grey marl Classic Wool.  I did some silly knitting, a combination of short rows and intarsia, to keep the Bonnie wool on the palm side of the inner part, for as long as the yarn would last, so that when the flip top is down, hopefully the grey wouldn't show.  It wasn't really worth that hassle.
Just as I finished the mitts, I was digging through that drawer for something.  Wouldn't ya know, I found the  hat I had forgotten about.  How on earth had I not seen it before?  Although I was ticked, I realized that at least now I know you can knit the flip top first, then pick up the stitches inside for the inner portion of the mitts. 

I considered finishing the hat, but I really don't know what pattern it is (took a few minutes).  And I remember getting frustrated by it.  So, I ripped it out.  I've been seeing a lot of asymmetrical scarves lately, tied like kerchiefs.  Usually they are done in garter stitch, which eats yarn and time.  I found a version I figured I could alter to do on the knitting machine.  There were bands of reverse stockinette, but I opted to do it all in stockinette.

 It was pretty easy on the machine, but I think I could have used a bit more yarn.  Also, despite being 90% wool, 10% silk, and using lots of steam, the long edge still curls.  I like it though. 
(I already included the yarn amounts in my totals, but this set weighed 156grams)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Yarn Out Update

The items for the cold weather clothing drive had to be in on Tuesday, so I spent Monday night photographing and weighing the items.  On Monday, Lucy's class had brought in 55 items.  On Tuesday, the class brought in another 52 items!  They won the competition with the other 4th grade class by 21 items (they had been behind by 10); and Lucy co-incidentally, took in 21 items.
 These are older hats from my "one day I'll attend another craft show" box.  The two upper left ones were done using a "helix stripe" technique, where you use at least three colours, knit in the round.  Knit 1/2 the stitches with the first colour, then the second half with another colour.  You're back at the start, and change to a third colour.  When you get to the first colour, drop the third--do not twist--pick up the first, and keep going.  You do not get holes.  The only secret is to never, ever frog back by taking it off the needles.  The hat in the top right is done on the machine.  Start at the right edge, cast on some number of stitches.  Every other row, decrease on one side and increase on the other.  Make it long enough to wrap around the head.  You might have to take it off on waste yarn and move it back to the right edge.  The two bottom right hats are from Ray at  I've blogged about them before.  I didn't include the weight of these items in my yarn out total.
 These are all the double thick/reversible hat, done on the SK155.  The bottom camo/orange will reverse to all orange; I wasn't sure if there is a requirement of how much safety orange there must be showing when hunting.  The top one was made next and I didn't have enough orange to make the cuff be orange for both sides.
 The red and brown striped one is the first one I made.  I don't know why I opted to make the pattern for the first time using up little bits of yarns.  I thought I had tons of different reds, but in the end, I was using up foot long pieces of red.  And I had no idea if it was actually going to fit yet.  The camo and dark brown hat was made by Hugh on the LK150.  I made the scarf to match, in a 1x1 tuck pattern, then steamed it heavily to tame the curl.  The first version was wider, but too short.   It knit up with a fabulous pattern in the colours.  You can always count on Bernat yarns to give great results with their variegated yarns.  The plum and variegated hat at the top left was made by Lucy on the SK155.
 I wonder why this is sideways!  I adapted an earflap hat pattern to make it doubled all the way up, instead of just part way.  They look really tall, but once on, they're fine.  The blue scarf is another 1x1 tuck and steamed.  It's James Brett Marble, and it really loosened up/lengthened when steamed.  The lilac cowl scarf was handknit a couple years ago and wasn't quite what I wanted.
 The bottom left hat is another version of Ray's charity hat.  It uses the two yarns in the two hats on the right.  I thought they were more contrasting, but once combined, it was not nearly as contrasting as I was expecting.  This version is a little too big on me, and since it had to be seamed, I took it in a couple stitches so that the pattern matches up on the seam (not sure why the pattern is written so the seam doesn't show).  It's still a little big.  I like the hat, and his crown decreases are nicely done, but I had a hard time figuring out the transition (maybe because the chart was on the next page and I couldn't easily see how it was to flow).  When doing the double decreases, use lots of weight and check to make sure there are three loops on the needle.  The last loop you put on tends to jump off.  Also, I am considering doing this again, but using the tuck pattern in the manual.  Three rows of tuck, 4th row knits all.  The way Ray sets it up, you knit 4 rows of tuck, put those needles back by hand, pull out the next set of tuck stitches, then move the carriage to the other side for the second colour, then do 4  rows.  Too much work (even though it is easy work) LOL.
The three other hats are the sideways short row hats I created the pattern for.  These ones seemed a little too short to fold back a brim, but on a toddler you might be able to.  The bright pink is really a lot brighter!  This lower picture is a bit better.
 Meg made this hat on the LK150.  Again, another 1x1 tucked scarf on the SK155.  There wasn't a particular pattern to the variegated yarn, but the apparent randomness is actually not.  The Bernat yarn is much softer than the Red Heart Super Saver, and I think softer than the TLC Essentials.  The Red Heart feels like it will never wear out.  The Bernat yarn, especially after steaming, is almost slinky.  I wouldn't want that for a top that might stretch out, but for a scarf, it was great.
 More of the sideways hats.  The lower one is leftover yarn from a cardi
 The "surf n turf" hat that started the sideways hat epidemic.  I originally wanted to use the entire ball of yarn for the hat, but the first version was a couple rows short.  To be safe, even though the hat would be smaller, I opted to alternate with the brown.  To use the left over yarn, I made a kerchief style scarf, similar in shape/design to this one.  I didn't do the alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette.  I also altered the pattern a bit this time to try to get the second "tie" to be longer and skinnier.  More on these scarves later.
The lower scarf is the same idea as the one above, see how the point on the left isn't very pointy?  This was James Brett Marble, which I picked up in a thrift shop while visiting my parents earlier in the month.  The green scarf was using up Shetland Chunky.  Again, I thought I had plenty of the yarn, but it ended up rather short and wide.  A collar filler, not a wrap several times, scarf.  The teal mitts were handknit and are TINY.  They weigh 19grams.  They might fit a skinny 1 year old.  I wanted to make more mitts, but ran out of time.

Weight of items made specifically for the drive:   2536grams!
Yarn In to Date:       3365grams
Yarn out to Date:     3781grams
Total                         -416grams!

This does not include the yarn I got donated last week.  Still haven't weighed that.  And if the school had been accurate in the dates on the posters, I would have known the drive ended on Tuesday, and not today, and I wouldn't have bought that 340gr ball of Red Heart last weekend.  Most of the yarn I bought with the kids for the hats was totally used up.  There is some of the purpley variegated yarn left.


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