Monday, May 25, 2015

Where've You Been?

I've been a little busy with life here!  And, doing some crocheting...and, like often, I get a little carried away LOL.  A woman asked for newsboy caps for her twin grandsons coming this summer.  She asked for "grey or two shades of blue".  Pretty open ended...should be easy, right?

Because they were for twins, I wanted two matching yarns--same brand, and to look nice together.  I had both a grey and a blue in Patons "Decor", but felt the blue was too dull.  I had some really dark blues, and I have some grey...but together, nothing looked like "twins".  I went to Michaels and was surprised to see it was challenging to find a yarn with two shades of "nice" blue.  Many were very dark, or more of a turquoise colour.  Or, "Minion" blue (very bright).  Finally, I selected four balls of LionBrand "Vanna's Choice".  I really like this yarn, but some of the balls really split!  I got two shades of grey and two shades of blue.

Before I started though, I remembered I still had some of these hats:
I made them back in May 2013, and the sizing wasn't all exactly the same, and some were way too small for newborn, and some were just barely newborn size.  I had pulled the small ones out to re-do them and felt this was as good of time as ever.  If the client liked them, I could return the other yarn.  If she didn't like them, and wanted solid colours, then at least I had some more RTS items available!  In fact, I decided to rip them all out and start fresh.

I whipped them up--they go so quick!  Though weaving in ends, because the yarn was being recycled, added a bit of time.  But not much.  I decided to get creative and do some more gnome style ones.  They seem popular, so I hope they sell.

The three hats above are all the same hat; I wanted to show how it can be styled differently!

Eight adorable hats.  I sent a sneak peek to the client, and she said she'd prefer solid coloured hats.  Oh well!  At least these are made, photographed, blogged, and in the bin now!
Most of the yarn was recycled from the original hats.  However, I did have some left over, so I made another one.  I'm just going to count this ALL as yarn out for this year, and not worry about what was already counted back in 2013!

Yarn In:  1776gr
Yarn Out: 211gr + 3713gr = 3924gr
Balance: 2148gr more USED than bought
Costs:  $97.58 /145 days = $0.67/day

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Water Season

Although you should be drinking water all year round, many people don't carry their water around with them until the warmer months.  I've been on the fence about the sewn water bottle holders.  I like them, and that they're sturdy, and can be tailored to hobbies, men, children, etc.  What I don't like...I'm not a great sewer (as hard as I try to be accurate and precise, it just doesn't seem to happen), and the sizing is not as flexible as crocheted ones.

I had this white and red holder finished last year...but it just needed a button!  I made the strap extra long so it could be worn cross body or on the shoulder, and the button can be placed anywhere along the strap.  Somehow this holder turned out a little wide, which is great for the larger, odd shaped bottles.  Or, you can also tuck other things in with a smaller bottle!

I changed the pattern part way up cause I was bored.  One thing I have problem with is doing double crochet in the round.  I never know where to put the first DC after the chain 2 (or is it ch 3?).  It's really noticeable in the white one, a diagonal line starting from the bottom right of my watermark up towards the left of the holder. 54 grams.

 My niece likes pink and orange, and I knew she needed a new holder.  Although her mom said a "sewn holder because her's broke".  Not knowing the size of her bottle (and the fact that kids often have more than one bottle), I opted to use this cheery yarn, called "Cool Crochet" by Bernat (discontinued of course).  I used it a few years ago to crochet a cardi. I thought it would be good because it's 70% cotton, 30% acrylic, so it shouldn't shrink when washed, and I didn't think it would stretch too much.
 I started with 5 DC for the strap and then at some point increased up to 8, then back down.  But, I realized, that's kind of silly because the shoulder section is different if worn cross body vs on the shoulder.  So I redid it with 8 DC.  And I made a second one for Megan.  35grams each.
I tested it out, and I don't like how much it stretches!!!  I'm going to use some twill tape, and sew it down the backside of the strap, along the edges.  This will mean I don't need to sew button holes, as the button can still go through the strap anywhere.  It's great to have some stretch in the holder part, but not in the strap.  I'll report back later how that works.

I still have some fabric cut up and waiting to be sewn into holders, from last summer.  I like variety.  That's the True Tracy Way!

Yarn In:  1776gr
Yarn Out: 124gr + 3589gr = 3713gr
Balance: 1937gr more USED than bought
Costs:  $97.58 /129 days = $0.76/day

Thursday, May 07, 2015

That's How I Roll

I have had one ball of Plymouth's  "DreamBaby DK" in my stash forever.  I bought it at Georgetown Yarn  probably between 2001 and 2005.  I used some in white for a newborn set, I think for Megan in the fall of 2005, but somehow, once I washed wasn't quite so nice anymore.  So this one 50gr ball has been languishing in the bin forever, it seems.

I had come across a newborn crochet dress/top pattern called "Baby Girl Sleeper" though it's not a sleeper/onsie or anything.  I took a screen shot of the dress pattern, and at some point opened it in my Safari browser on the iPad.  I kept that darn tab open forever, and finally crocheted the top.  Then I decided to try the diaper cover since I had a bit left over and I thought a diaper cover would be handy since the top seemed too short for a dress.  I didn't like the crocheted diaper cover pattern, so I closed the window, ripped out the cover, and tried again.

For the second attempt, I decided to do half double the round.  Sounded smart, no?  Well, I was at the point to do the leg openings, and I realized, looking at the inside of the cover, that working back and forth in hdc was going to give a different look than the top part done in the round!  Ooops.  Rip!

Started again, with plans to seam the sides.  It was going okay, but I wasn't sure about sizing so I tried to open the original pattern again.  It seems suddenly the pattern is gone from the internet.  Gone.

I didn't think I was going to have enough yarn, so I thought maybe a knit cover would be better, as it uses less yarn, and the different fabric would be a nice change.  I just went with the gauge on the ball band, and got started, planning on 12" around  and using my standard diaper cover pattern for guidance.  Except that my standard diaper cover is designed to go over cloth diapers.  So it's not really all that helpful.  I kept working away till I was almost done the yarn.

Decided it was not big enough--it seemed to come out at about 10.5", and of course, stretching the width shortens the length, blah blah blah...

So I decided to undo the scalloped bottom edge of the top and use the yarn from the diaper cover to extend the length.  I know it won't get too far, but I don't want any yarn left over!

My mother-in-law was over and saw the yarn going to the dress from the cover and couldn't believe I'd do that.  I didn't tell her about the other 2 or 3 attempts I had made already LOL

When I started the dress I wasn't sure I liked the way the yarn works up.  The colour runs are very short so there is a lot of blending, and crocheting really blends a variegated yarn.  It looks so different worked up in stockinette stitch.  I can't say I'm in love with the yarn in either format, but I'm just glad to finally make something, and maybe it will sell.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I Forgot?

Apparently I forgot to write about Mochaccino!  This little fellow was knitted up for my youngest daughter, for Easter.  She did ask for  a Pocket Bunny in the tan and white with sequins, but I really want to be saving that yarn LOL.  I opted for something totally different.  One strand of sock yarn and one strand of a boucle mohair with spandex, I think.

Years ago I had ordered a small amount of this fancy yarn, in two different shades of brown, from  I remember that at the time, I did have plans for it, but I think it ended up being thinner than I thought it would be.  It's nice for this bunny, but not quite as fluffy looking as it is in the ball.

The details are hard to see on the dark bunny.  I should probably have done a darker nose too.

 A simple scarf..I had a few left over from when I made some but forgot and made more, for a previous order.

I did the ears differently this time.  Because they don't have the patch on the inside, of a different colour, I realized I didn't need to knit them two layers (I knit them in the round, but don't stuff).  I did them in garter stitch.  I quite liked them, but of course...Megan asked why they were different!  I also had trouble getting the lower belly shaping right.  I just can't decide between increases or short rows.

This guy has his own video too, a bit of a trial to see what I could do for the background that wasn't music:
You can see all my videos on my YouTube channel :)
Yarn In:  1776gr
Yarn Out: 32gr + 3559gr = 3589gr
Balance: 1813gr more USED than bought
Costs:  $97.58 /126 days = $0.77/day

Monday, May 04, 2015


Back at the end of last year, I got an email from a man, Jason, who found me through my website.  He wanted an old Christmas stocking recreated.  He's located about 45-55 minutes from me though.  I offered to find him a knitter closer to him, but it didn't work out.  And...I'm SO fussy, I'd be petrified that it wouldn't be up to MY standards, which are quite high sometimes.  Like, they wouldn't use the right weight of yarn.
He said he's sometimes in my town to get his motorcycle serviced and he could drop off the stocking.  He was coming to town on the one day I was going on a field trip with the school :(  He did drop it off though, and the fun began!

I searched patterns, and found out it's an old Knit-o-Graf pattern, by Della Fitch, from 1952.  There is a reproduction of the pattern available on etsy/ravelry...but it was slightly different.  I know I can chart this out myself, but it was still neat to find the original details.

 I had anticipated it would have been made with worsted weight yarn, but it measures up at 6st/inch.  Instantly, I think of Paton's "Astra", which is actually listed at 22st/4" (5.5st/inch).  Or, perhaps an old Mary Maxim yarn.  There haven't been a lot of acrylic DK yarns out there over the years.  Pretty much the only other option would be Sirdar Snuggly DK.  For a while, there was Paton's "Look At Me", but I think this was made before that was available.

A trip to Michaels, and I was able to get a very close red, the gold and the blue are also very close, and the pink, I had to go a bit lighter.  The "white" though...I'm sure it was probably originally white, but even after I gave it a wash (I could see some dirt spots), it's not a true white anymore.  Astra (and so many of the yarns) comes in a bright white, and an Aran...which is definitely a cream beige.  Same with Snuggly.  I picked out Loops & Threads "Woollike" in a soft white, and swatched it double stranded.  The colour is right, but the yarn has a bit of a sheen.

I swatched the Astra and got a good match.  I'm pretty certain the original stocking was steamed or ironed, so I tried it on my swatch and it looks very similar.  It has a certain flatness to the stitches.

However....the green.  It seems the current vogue for green yarn is emerald, or pale sage.  This green is a definite yellowy olive.  I went to a real yarn store, and the Snuggly DK options weren't very close. I dug to the very bottoms of my stash and could only find these two.  In the picture above, the darker one looks good.
 But in these two pictures...the darker one is not quite yellowy enough.

I'm not giving up!  I'm hoping to get into another store for a look at some more options.  He wants four stockings made, and I had explained that I while I can probably get a very similar yarn, the shades will probably have to be different.  He was okay with that...but when I get focused on something...I want to know I've tried all my options.  I happened to look at a Mary Maxim email last week, and found they had Mellowspun DK on sale...but the sale was now over...and there appears to be a close colour...

Friday, May 01, 2015

New Video!

It took a few false starts, but I finally made a video showing all the Old Fashioned Teddies that I've made since having a digital camera!

Have your sound on!  I also created a YouTube channel.  I've got all my little videos there.  I might try doing some technique videos someday.  Wish I had filmed me making the Kelly Sweater! I don't often have unique ideas, and Diana Sullivan does such an awesome job with videos, that I sort of feel I shouldn't bother.  If you have any requests though, let me know!