Sunday, July 20, 2014


One of my favourite photographers ordered some more items.  I love making tiny, adorable things.  Even basics, like leg warmers, are so much cuter when done in newborn sizes.  I know I really shouldn't post this yet, as I still have to finish one more item (romper to go with bear hat), and I just mailed these things on Friday so she hasn't gotten them yet (though I don't think she reads this LOL).
 Pretty hard to display baby legwarmers without a baby, LOL.
 Teddy bear hat.  I tried something different.  I wanted a rounded shape, not the pointed rectangle shape like the pixie hats.  I cast on for the bottom, knit almost the height I wanted, then short rowed, starting with the middle third and adding one stitch each row on either side. 
 Once all the stitches were back in work, I felt it was a little short at the front, so I did a few more short rows to build up the centre front.  I hope the hat fits; it seems a little loose around the bottom, but my "head" doesn't have a neck LOL.
 Next up...this adorable little bear.  On Ravelry, it's "Bill and Ben Twin Bears".  It's a little more shaped then the inspiration photo Jenna sent me, but really, adding a bit of shaping for the paws doesn't take more time.  However...this pattern has you knit flat.  Pbsspt.  No way.  Knit it in the round and stuff as you go.  The hard thing was the assembly instructions were "sew seams and assemble".  There was no indication for the body which was the top.  The legs and arms I could pretty well tell.  The ears, I didn't know how the pattern was supposed to turn out, so I crocheted them.
Oh, I was going to crochet him a scarf!
I don't often vary from the teddy bear pattern I normally use, but to size it down to get a mini bear like this, I'd have to use very fine yarn.  This one is fine!

Yarn In: 5493gr
Yarn Out:   116gr + 2489gr = 2605gr
Balance:  2888gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $307.72/201 days = $1.53/day

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


It appeared that summer was going to finally appear by Canada Day, so I wanted a water bottle holder to show our Canadianism.  This one is done in acrylic Red Heart yarn because finding the bright red cotton is really hard for some reason.

This is just a quick iPad photo.  Red is hard  to photograph.  It was done with the bottom in a single crochet circle, then a few rounds of single crochet, then a few of half double crochet, then a few rounds of double crochet, then I did a DC, ch1 (skipping every other DC in the previous round), then the next round was DC in the ch1 space.  This makes for a very stretchy waterbottle holder, but not really lacey.
This time, I made the strap extra long, all DC (I think 4 wide), and I sewed a button on the top edge, opposite the strap.  This way, it can be shortened to whatever length, or worn cross-body with the  strap fully let out. 

No one wanted to take it to the Canada Day activities, so it sits waiting for a buyer in my box of doom...

Yarn In:  5493gr
Yarn Out: 51gr + 2348gr = 2489gr
Balance: 3142gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $307.72/196days = $1.57/day

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Little Give Away

Some posted in a give-away group (like Freecycle, but on Facebook) that they were looking for baby wool.  I asked questions--baby wool, or baby yarn; what weight, colours--and found she had some Bernat Baby Softee.  I also had some so I offered it to her.  Gave away 243gr, a lilac ball with no label and a ball of a blue/green mix.

I looked at my numbers from this time last year.  I haven't bought as much yarn as last year, but I have spent more on that yarn.  I haven't had nearly the same output--down by about half.  Last year though, I was making more items to put in the "in stock" box, and I'm not really doing that this year.  Also, the photographer I worked with a lot in the beginning of TracyKM Designs has been using a lot of other prop makers, in a variety of styles.  I'll keep plugging away.  Hopefully if I just stay out of Michaels....

Yarn In:  5493gr
Yarn Out: 248gr + 2190gr = 2438gr
Balance: 3055gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $307.72/190days = $1.62/day

Monday, July 07, 2014


In early May, I was reading my Facebook newsfeed, and someone posted in one of the many groups I'm in (maybe the Handmade group for the area), that they wanted a handmade Toothless, the Night Fury dragon from "How To Train Your Dragon".  The picture they included was a crocheted Toothless, and I quickly searched and found the pattern and offered to do it.  We set a price, she had a deadline for Father's Day, and I got to work.  First thing I did was find a knit pattern.  I was going to crochet it, but there were a few negative comments about that pattern (and the knit one) and I wanted to use one ball of Bernat Waverly, and crocheting takes more yarn. I knew I could make the wings/spikes, etc with a different black though.

Most of it was pretty easy knitting.  The lengthy part is the assembly and stuffing.  The knit pattern involved a lot of little pieces, which many people had done in crochet instead.  The real charm of the pattern was the use of pipe cleaners to add structure to the wings.  They were optional, but I knew they should be done.

 As usual, I was in emotional turmoil as I got towards the end.  One moment, I was calm and sure I was on schedule.  The next minute, I felt hopeless and overwhelmed at all that still needed to be done.
 I was particularly concerned about the eyes.  In the pictures on the pattern, they looked like where I put them.  The pattern said to either take the yarn through the stitches, or to graft the stitches.  I did the gathering up, though in pictures, I think the grafted one looks better and may have changed how the eyes were placed.  I did my eyes with satin stitch, first in the yellow, then over that with the black.
 I liked the eye placement, but it seemed that the wings didn't line up like the pattern's pictures showed.  I finally just gave up and sewed them on.
 The pattern is good, though I found it hard scrolling between different parts of the pattern, since some things were different in the "pipe cleaner method" and the "no pipe cleaners method".
 See, he doesn't have a mouth.  The ones with grafted stitches make him look like he has a mouth.
The head spikes were an issue.  It was hard to find pictures that showed exactly how all eight spikes were supposed to be sewn on.  I ended up crocheting the smallest ones and I think I did the medium ones as i-cords.  While knitting the body (be sure to stuff as you go!), it would have been easy to put a few markers in to help with sewing on the wings, legs, and head spikes.  I got my stuffed animal start with Jean Greenhowe patterns, and she uses markers.
 I thought about doing the brown fin with some suede I had.  It was a bit too light, and well, my studio is in too much of a disarray to bother searching for it.
It was hard lining up all the wings.  I was particularly disappointed in the pattern with the small wings and tail fins.  It didn't tell you how to align them...if the cast on was the lower edge, or what.
There were good pictures of the individual pieces, but there were yarn tails, and I couldn't seem to make mine orientate the same way.  Could be because the yarn tail was from the cast on and was actually under the fin and then the end showed at the top.  Could be because the designer did a long tail cast on and I did a cable cast on (yarn tail would be at opposite ends).

A little text on the picture would have helped.  The fins did seem to be symmetrical triangles, so I did the best I could.  Also, as I was done the sewing in the pipe cleaners, and "wrapping a row with yarn", I used the ends to wrap around the edge stitches for a bit more "oomph".
 The wing tubes.  Well.  I thought, I'm going to knit them in the round.  Then I read, halfway through that the lower end is stuffed and the pipe cleaners are to be inserted.  I tried various ways to stuff it, basically ended up wrapping the pipe cleaners with some soft black fabric and trying to get that in.  Dont' try this shortcut, just follow the pattern, LOL.  Again, some markers on the wings would have helped.  My two wing tubes seemed to be different lengths.  I didn't know just how far along the wing they should go.  And does the wing wrap over the tube?  I just sort of tried a few things till it looked good and secure.

The pipe cleaners...the pattern didn't say how many, or how long!  This should have been included in the pattern!!  The store had only one length, but I bought an assorted pack of colours so I could get both black and brown.  I nearly ran out of the black ones.  And, there are two sewn into the wing tubes, and one is supposed to reach from halfway down the wing tube to the very tip of the wing.  Well, mine didn't.  I had to overlap a second one.

The toes.  I read several of the projects on Ravelry where the knitters had crocheted the toes.  I chained four, then slip stitch in second from the hook and next two.  Ch 4, then again, slip stitch in three.  Repeat twice more.  This created four little toes that sort of looked like black fringe, with a ch1 in between each toe.  Then I sewed it on along the top.

 The leg placement...very hard to see in the pictures, and I went through a lot of Ravelry projects trying to figure  it out.  Again, markers while you knit would be helpful.  In the end, I think they were okay, but like I said, when I was happy with the eye placement, it meant the wings weren't quite the same as in the pattern.
There's those toes again.
One other little detail.  The pattern said to sew around a row of stitches.  That was it for the instruction.  Well, very quickly you realize you don't just follow a row of stitches, you have to angle away.  No biggie, but you know...some people care about good instructions.

I used an entire 100gr ball of Bernat "Waverly".  The sewing on the pipe cleaners and over sewing the rows took a lot of yarn.  In fact, on the fins and tail I used other yarn, and also for the claws.  I wish I had done all the over sewing and sewing the pipe cleaners with a different yarn.  That would have given a bit of nice detail.  I also think that it needs the back "lumps".  Since it was stuffed as it was knit, it was hard to get an idea of how much yarn it really used.  I'm going to say 150grams.  I had a lot of little ends snipped off since it was annoying to use long lengths of yarn for the detail sewing.

Yarn In:  5493gr
Yarn Out: 150gr + 2040gr = 2190gr
Balance:  3303 gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $307.72/188days = $1.64/day

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Cleaning Time

I was looking in my "hibernation drawer" (that place projects go when they need finishing up, but for what ever reason, I just can't/won't do it at the time), and came across a grey pixie bonnet that already had the ends woven in and the top grafted, and it jut needed ties.  I also found a chunky cable cap.  I'm not sure why it was in there.  I don't even know if I've already shown it.  I don't care, I'll count it again, LOL.  I take my weights after an item is fully done, which means all the ends that get trimmed off don't get counted.  This hat makes up for that (if I have already counted it) LOL  (Edit:  I apparently did count this last year, but I'm not going to change this year's totals).
 Sorry the pictures aren't awesome.  Took them with my iPad so I could get them online quickly.  The black cap took 49gr, so a 50gr ball of Shetland Chunky would make up to the 12 month size.
Back last fall I was making a grey set for a photographer, when I realized near the end of making the pants that the two yarns I used were not quite the same dyelot.  And it showed.  I opted to dye some Patons Lace in grey and start again.  I had plans to take apart the hat (all that was left was the chin ties) and pants, and use the different dye lots in a more "artistic" way, LOL.  I can't find the pants now though!  I posted the hat in a photographer's group on Facebook and sold it pretty quickly.  I wish I had asked for more, but I just didn't want it hanging around like all the other items I haven't sold!  This little thing weighed in at 20gr.  A real big spender LOL.

Isn't that precious?  Photo courtesy of Johannah G Photography!

Yarn In: 5493gr
Yarn Out: 69gr + 1971gr = 2040gr
Balance:  3453 gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $307.72/187days = $1.65/day

Thursday, July 03, 2014

I Did It Again

My middle child, Lucy, wanted to make her music teacher a gift.  Mrs. S has been at their school for a long time (much longer than Lucy), and last year, due to a split 6/7 class, some grade 6ers got to learn an instrument.  It was successful, so she introduced instrumental music to all grade 6ers this past school year.  Lucy was in grade 6 and trumpet was chosen for her.  It was a bumpy ride in the first few weeks as Lucy adjusted from a spoon-fed curriculum to a self-lead curriculum ("all the knowledge you need is in the paragraph at the top of the page.  Read it"..."I don't want to read it.").  Once she got the basics of notation and pitch, she was off to the races.  In the spring, she got asked to join the jazz band, which is mostly grade 7 & 8.  It was a definite challenge, but she tried her best.  She searched Pinterest and came up with the idea of a letter S, decoupaged with music, on a plaque.  Off to Michaels' we went.  Picture later, it's on the iPad and I can't seem to use it for blogging.

Of course, I had to check to see if they had more of that reflective yarn, and indeed, they did!  And a few other yarns.  It appears Patons Lace is either discontinued or not going to be carried anymore :(  I picked up another couple balls, even though I knew they didn't match the dyelot I already had.  There was a LOT of the turquoise, which is gorgeous, but I have a large unlabelled skein of turquoise laceweight that I bought at Value Village, and I wonder if it might be one of the mystery skeins Spinrite sells at their tent sale.  I should do a burn test. There was also some other really nice yarns.  And, I had a coupon, though it didn't apply to clearance items.

Anyway.  590gr of yarn.  That reflective yarn is heavy!  100gr is only 88yds, compared to 70gr of Patons Lace that is 344yds.  And today I have to go pick up a couple more balls (uh, like 5) to work on that copy cat sweater.  $23.65

Yarn In: 4903gr + 590gr = 5493gr
Yarn Out:   1971gr
Balance:  3522 gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $23.65+ $284.07/ = $307.72/184days = $1.67/day

Still to come:  chunky cable cap, grey pixie bonnet, red and white bottle holder, Toothless....