Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pants!

I sewed pants! That I love! That fit! That I can wear in public!

The key...start with a worn out pair of pants that I knew fit well. I carefully took them apart (with a seam ripper, I didn't just cut the seams). I had a hard time last May trying to find an acceptable material and settled for a navy cotton, "Bettina" (I think. From Fabricland. Searching their site this spring did not yield any results). I was worried that I would feel like a cop or security guard in dark blue pants, but I don't. The fabric is not an exact match and there are two things that I'm not fond of. It wrinkles more than the original pair and it has a soft, sort of brushed texture which traps dog hair like crazy. But it's worth it to have a pair of pants I can wear in public!

This was SUCH an incredible learning project. Starting with---do NOT leave freshly ironed, neatly folded pieces of fabric on the ironing board which happens to be in the room that's being renovated. Yeah. Hubby thought they were RAGS! And then threw them out!!! I freaked on him. He did fetch the two leg pieces and they weren't too bad--one has a bit of construction adhesive on it. He couldn't find the rib knit waistband, but that's not too bad since I have another pair of these pants. I had kept one leg still assembled so I could see how it goes together.

Another thing I learned was that I'm still learning about order of processes. I tend to want to just get started, and sew the parts that I know (or think I know) how to do. Then I'll get to another part and realize I need to have done something else first. Or not done. I learned how to make angled side seam pockets with separate facing pieces and separate pocket pieces. Later I made a pair of shorts with this pattern but did the pockets self facing and it was a lot easier. I like the contrasting pocket though, even though you don't see it. It was left over rayon? from a sundress I made last summer but never showed because it had pissed me off so much and I wasn't happy with it.


I also sewed a mock fly. I couldn't find instructions that would give the same result as my original pair, so I had to muddle through, but it turned out acceptable.

I added 7/8" to the leg but I think I could add another 1/2" or even inch. I wonder if they shrank more with the second wash (I did pre-wash the fabric before cutting).  I feel that the front crotch is a little low, but the back crotch isn't. So I'm not sure how to adjust that. And I don't know why my butt looks so flat and the fabric looks like it's pulling. They don't feel like that at all.

The dog always wants in on photo shoots. Especially when the hubby is taking the pictures. So please excuse the poor quality photos!

For the waistband, I found some blue and white striped jersey. A little thin, but with the twill tape drawstring, it's okay. I'm disappointed by the lack of colour selection for twill tape at Fabricland.

I totally underestimated how much thread it takes to topstitch. It was fun trying to topstitch around the crotch, but I got it done.

I'm so happy with these. I didn't do the little tabs on the lower legs so they can be rolled up into capris. I thought the colour seemed a little dark for summer pants. I have plans for more pants! Especially since the second pair I had have passed into the "not outside the house" condition.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

April Fool's Day

I'm usually pretty lame at April Fool's Day stunts. I wish Pinterest had been around 15 years ago. This year though, I had an idea. Crochet a spare tire cover for my husband's truck! We were a little disappointed to find out AFD was on a Saturday as that would increase the chance he'd be around his truck instead of just getting in like on a work day. Then I found out he had a "Drive Clean" emission's test booked for first thing that morning. Awesome!


It started out easy and quick, but by the end the rows were taking forever and using a lot of yarn. I fibbed and said it was for an ugly afghan contest LOL. I wish I had measured against the tire a second time and stretched it out because although I knew I had increased too much in the middle, I thought it had smoothed out. In the end, it was way too big around, but actually needed more width. I chained a bunch on ties since I didn't know how I was going to tie it on. There are ties and plain yarn zig zaging everywhere.

Lucy cut letters from fabric and then added glitter glue to brighten them up. And then it started raining. We got outside late Friday evening during a light mist while Rob was in the hot tub. We hoped he had the jets running so he wouldn't hear us laughing and dropping things. The letters were put on with double sided tape.  I did one round with reflective yarn but I don't know how well that showed at 8am.

 It did actually say "April Fool's" but I started taking the letters off. Then got bored.

Well, when he got home from the Toyota dealership, he was NOT happy. It wasn't until they came in to tell him that they weren't going to do his complimentary wash (really just a spray down, I think) because they didn't want to disturb the item on the back, that he took a look. They were all laughing and thought it was great, but he wasn't so amused. However, the next day, telling his parents, he was laughing a bit about it. I told him we wouldn't have gone to so much work if we didn't love him :)

I bought two 50gr balls of cheap yarn from the dollar store and the rest was from the stash. I'm not going to count the whole amount I used as "yarn out" because it's still in the basement LOL. But I will count 150gr to count for the two cheap balls and all the ends trimmed and the short ties I won't recycle. Apparently I've already counted that 100gr in :)

Yarn In: 1642gr
Yarn Out: 150gr + 1505gr= 1655gr
Balance: 13gr more bought than used
Costs:   $40.73/136 days = $0.30per day


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bodyguard Top

Back to sewing! LOL. I do have a couple other crochet projects to show, but really, I'm doing mainly sewing right now. Momma needs some new clothes. And a purse. And a wallet. And a music bag.

I saved Hot Pattern's free download "Fringe Festival T Shirt" a long time ago. It goes by several different names, and I think it was through Fabric.com not Hot Patterns page.  I was surprised to learn several years ago that indie pattern designers do not follow the same sizing standards as "The Big 4". Some indies draft for top heavy ladies, some for curvy all over, some for bottom-blessed belles. Hot Patterns seems to draft for the bosom blessed, of which I am one. So after reading the reviews, I felt comfortable not doing a FBA. I wasn't sure about the shoulder-becomes-sleeve thing. I don't like short little sleeves, or what ever that's called where the shoulder hangs down to become the sleeve.

Many of the reviews said the neck tie instructions were vague. Many people double sided the neck tie. I thought about it, but since I didn't even know how it was going to go together, those instructions left me more confused. I also managed to forget (don't think it says anything on the pattern piece) to cut the second half in reverse. I had just enough to cut another one. Guess I can't make a matching "Buff" now LOL!
 The fabric was a 0.9m (just shy of 1yd) x 1.5m (59") remnant from Fabricland that I've had a long time. The price says $7.65 and it says "Mezonee Knit". It's a very slinky fabric. It actually really surprised me. It was rolled up and I never had unrolled it. I obviously had never look too closely to realize it was rolled up with the wrong side showing. I thought it was a very pale, subtle pattern. Wow, was I surprised--and happy--to see the dark vibrant colours. Then I thought it was a horizontal stripe. When I looked closely at the selvages, I saw that it was actually a vertical stripe. How much luckier could I get?!
 
I looked at a lot of pictures on Pattern Review (that link I posted goes to one set of reviews but if you search the other names, there are TONS of reviews) to see how the tie was to attach. I thought it was to lay ON the shirt so the instructions confused me. Finally, I found this blog write up and saw that it actually FILLS in the neck. So really, attaching it isn't that hard. The picture shows how it should be attached. I don't think I have it pinned all the way around because I wanted to make sure you can see it and it was curling up on itself as I pinned. The centre back seam is on the right. 

There was also debate about sewing the seam allowance down, and having stitching showing on the right side. I figured my fabric was busy enough, it wouldn't matter.  I did a narrow twin needle stitch around the neckline which perfectly covered and holds down the serged seam allowance. Tieing the knot covered my imperfections where the scarf meets the sides near the bottom of the neckline.  Everthing was serged, except the twin needle at the neck and hems. I do not think I shortened the top--many said it was long, but I just wanted to see what it was like before making pattern adjustments.
 I really like this top. I totally don't mind the hang down shoulder-sleeves, even though you can see a bit of fold at the top of my left breast/armpit, and one end of the tie wouldn't stay facing the right way. I love the dark jewel tones. I love that it's longer, but not too long (I could probably shorten it an inch). It's not too fancy but great for those times when you want to look nice but not dressed up. This pictures is coming back from watching "The Bodyguard" in Toronto with my husband. I'm like a duck--the shirt is now imprinted on me as a special occasion shirt LOL. I'm sure it'd be fine with jeans but in my mind, it's for going to  the show. I will make more though. It'd be fine in a lightweight plain jersey knit. You definitely want something with a lot of drape for those shoulder-sleeves.



Monday, May 08, 2017

Still Knitting

Worried that I had become a sewing blog? I still knit. Right now I'm working on a crochet owl cocoon. I'm not overly inspired by it, and amazed at how much yarn it sucks up. It's a custom order and needs to get finished.
But I never blogged about my thread/punch lace trials. I'm pretty sure I had tried some on the Singer 327 way back when, but I haven't really done anything with it. I've seen lots of examples of how great it can look, and it's something I've been wanting to explore. Back in early January when I was making the satin lined hat, I gave it another go. I thought it might be a nice way to let the satin show, if I did it again with a contrasting fabric.

I don't recall what I used for the fine thread in this one. Maybe serger thread? I can't think of any brown yarn this thin in my stash.

It's very subtle. I mean, the circles are bold, but it really plays up the lightness between the circles.

This one, I used a super fine boucle. I have a cone of this and have tried adding it for texture with other yarns. I don't think I'll ever be able to use it all up in my lifetime. It's just so thin!
It adds a bit of texture (yeah, crappy picture), but really....it's so fine that I don't think it's necessary. This is why it is still a huge cone.

I also played with a tuck stitch to give a bit of textural interest in case the yarn was too boring on its own. In the end, I kept the hat simple, ribbed band and stockinette body.

I usually do really enjoy tuck, but I think I had to do this manually and I got bored. I think I might have misplaced a punch card? I don't know--my studio is very unorganized as I wait for the rest of the basement to get organized. And for the darn fridge to leave my studio!

Friday, April 28, 2017

About Time!

Last spring I was at the mall with my girls and noticed flowy, floral pants everywhere. I came home, picked out what remained of this sheet, cut out a pants pattern and got to work.

First up, the sheet was a 50-50 poly/cotton blend. So while it doesn't wrinkle, it doesn't quite have enough flow.

Second, I have a bad habit of not checking the pattern placement before cutting. This time I didn't even think about it, considering it was a large pattern. I neatly folded my fabric and cut. I don't really care for how both legs match, and I probably could never replicate that again if I tried.

This is after I re-sized them
Third. "Flowy" is not the same as hugely oversized. I put these on, and they fell off. I had bought the pattern (New Look 6354) at Value Village and although the envelope felt full, the pattern had been cut, to a smaller size than me. So I added what I felt I needed, based on the info on the envelope.  The hips were HUGE. I was pissed because that was a lot of wasted fabric. I had already sewn on the waistband, and I didn't want to just sew up the sides all the way up (it's a wide, bias cut band).

So, they sat while I got distracted with other projects. Finally, in March, I was in a lull, and decided to tackle them again. I took off at least an inch from each side of the seam at the top, and 2" each outer side (4" per leg) at the thigh. Since they weren't draping, they needed to be much more streamlined.

The family is not amused by them. The girls instantly recognized that I had a sunhat in the same fabric and they are petrified I will wear them at the same time. I won't. I promise.


My husband was like...they're okay for at home but don't go out in public. Once I trimmed them down and I put on the white shirt, he did think they were better.  I'm unsure of what kind of white top I need. This t shirt has an elastic bottom and I don't think it's right. Plus, it's worn out. Would a woven shirt be a better choice? I don't like how you can see the pants through the t shirt. But a woven shirt would also be a looser fit and with the pants being on the fuller side, I'm afraid I'll look like a little floral box.

I wanted to like this pants pattern so much because it's simple, no zipper, very similar to some RTW pants I have and love. It just needs a lot of tinkering, which will change based on the fabric. Like, if I had used a stretch twill, I would be cutting SO much smaller!!  I will try the pattern again, because it's very versatile, but without pockets, actually, the pattern I made from my favourite pants is a better option for me. I can easily (?) add a bias band instead of a knit band to my pattern, right?




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Another Accessory

One of the first things I sewed, without a pattern, was a lampshade...more like a fabric cover for a wire tapered barrel shaped lampshade. I measured around it...but didn't realize the shape I'd be cutting was not a rectangle and didn't buy enough fabric.
Another project was a needle roll for my double point needles. I knit a long strip on my KnitSmart knitting machine and felted it. Then I sewed fabric to make the inside. I really didn't know how to order it, how to plan it, etc, and most of it ended up being top stitched. I thought I was clever because I sewed on a flap to cover the tip end so they couldn't slide out.
As I've progressed, I've had a few of these projects. The Internet, especially Pinterest, have helped as there is now a pattern for almost everything. Almost.

My husband bought me a new phone. My old one was so old I couldn't run any apps anymore, or even take selfies. It's a great new phone...but since it's a refurbished phone and not the latest and greatest, the case selection was lame. The salesman said to buy from Amazon and after checking a few places, I finally did find some cases on Amazon--though two I picked out wouldn't mail to Canada! In the meantime though, I needed something to protect it in my knitting bag, coat pocket, etc. "Gorilla Glass" is tough, but I'm not sure about knitting needles!

I knew what I wanted. A zippered bag, with a wrist strap, and a clear plastic screen area. When sizing, I made sure to make the zipper at least the size of the phone, remembering that some of the zipper length is lost once sewn in. I did the little tabs over the zipper. I wanted it lined with PUL. I  thought I had it all figured out, top stitching around the plastic window, thinking I was nearly done. Then, I realized something. I actually don't remember what that was now! But for some reason, I could not finish it with the PUL on the front piece! I think I wouldn't be able to turn the bag right side out after sewing it together. So I changed it so the PUL was only on the back piece.

In the process of trying to press the window edges down to top stitch, the plastic got hit by some steam. And distorted. A couple weeks ago, I found the heavier plastic I had wanted to use. Oh well. This is still usable. Some people are amazed by it, some people think it's hokey, but last night something leaked in my band bag and there was only a bit of water on my phone, between the cover and the phone back. It could have been way worse if my phone was in the bag loose!

I added two male halves of the snap so it could be a large loop or I could make it snug around my wrist. The ribbon wasn't double sided so I did sew it together to make it reversible. And yes, I did trim those threads. I was just so excited to share a photo on Instagram LOL.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pyramid

My youngest is a budding vlogger/YouTuber. She has trouble though setting up the iPad to record, or the camera, or her iPod. She also likes to sit at her desk and watch videos  and make up tutorials. So I thought she might like a little pillow stand.













I used this tutorial . It seemed to work fine.  I used plastic pellets I got from Weighted For You, for the ramp bumper and the lower half of the pyramid. The top half is stuffing, which is easier when you're trying to hand stitch the opening closed. Not sure if the pellets are beneficial, but they do provide a nice weight to it.


 The slope is quite fine for using on the kitchen counter when cooking, on the arm of the couch or at the table when eating, but my daughter finds it a little too sloped for at her desk, and absolutely no good for filming. It's a combination of the slope of the pyramid and the length of the "ramp".

 And it was totally no good for the iPad Mini in it's Lifecase.

Making the ramp adjustable would be good. I saw a tip about putting a pencil into the slots made by the top stitching, but they weren't wide enough for any of my pencils. A knitting needle might work.  Having the ramp be shorter would also help. I've been thinking about the geometry of making the slope less. Each triangle would then not be the same shape. Good thing my husband is a mechanical engineer!

I would definitely make more of these. It's pretty quick, fairly small material investment. You could add to the time but reduce cost by doing patchwork.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter

In the past few years, we've gone to my aunt and uncle's to learn how to do pysanky--the Ukrainian Easter egg decorating tradition. It's interesting to see the kids' progression and interpretation each time. This year, we knew quite in advanced when we were going, and as I was digging through my fabric stash one day, it hit me.


I HAD to make a shirt with this awesome fabric I bought a long time ago. I think I bought it at Wal-Mart in Orangeville, so that would have been probably before 2008. I really started sewing after Megan was born, Nov 2005--though I didn't sew much right then, I started becoming a sewer then. I loved how this fabric was somewhat abstract, sort of cheeky and humourous, and also "nice". A velvet with gold glitter. But I never knew what to make. I didn't want to end up with a Matryoshka face on my butt :)

I used the same pattern as the previous shirt (incorporating some fitting changes), New Look 6143. I think the armholes ended up a smidge too small this time, and there are horizontal wrinkles just below the armhole, which means....it looks like too much length?


I purposely placed the centre dolls upside down. The ones on the back are right side up. I didn't want a doll face on my boob. And it makes you look twice to actually notice the dolls.
I tried to do a lettuce hem but it wasn't working too well. It seemed to curl under.
 The dividing band on the egg, with my initials and date.  I tried to really get detail this time. The dots are two colours, the spikes alternate colours, etc.
 Free form is hard for me. I like symmetry, but I also find it difficult to get the precision I require to soothe my OCD.

The main side of the egg was inspired by my shirt! My aunt has learned about washing and rubbing the egg after dyeing to get more vibrant colours and closer shading. After dyeing the face colour, she rubbed it off the face, and I covered the entire face except the green eyes, red lips and cheek spots with the wax. I did realize after that while I got the white dot in the iris, the green iris, and the whites of the eyes, I forgot to do the pupil! I was going to sharpie it in after before I took the photo but forgot. I also seemed to have forgotten that the black is in the middle of the eye, not around the green LOL. And I think I forgot eyebrows? LOL.

I'm planning to post all the process pictures of the eggs on my Instagram page, since the photos are on my phone. www.instagram.com/tracykmdesigns

Monday, April 10, 2017

Well, Hello There

I've been busy sewing and posting on Instagram. And just busy with life. Add to that camera issues....my camera was broken so I was using the iPad, another camera, my husband's phone....so collecting up all the pictures from different places was annoying. And my youngest is constantly taking the camera to make her own videos. Then, I got a new phone, with a pretty good camera, and I could post to Instagram with it, but couldn't seem to get the OneDrive to work to transfer pictures onto the computer. Now my regular camera is fixed (YAY! Thanks hubby!) so hopefully I will get back to posting.

Sewing. You all know I have a love-hate relations ship with it. The True Tracy Way exposes itself a lot when I sew. Like. Many years ago I found this sweater weight knit fabric in a remnants bin. I thought it would make a cozy dress since there was enough. But when I got it home and unrolled it, I found that the purple accents had missed spots in the middle!! Frustrated, I folded it back up into the stash.  I've not forgotten it though and decided enough was enough.  I dug it out and fully unrolled it. I saw that the fabric was really wide and the missing spots were only in a vertical line up the middle. I could most likely still fit pieces around that. I picked a pattern (New Look 6143), and read the reviews on PatternReview.com

This is sideways!
Why can nothing be easy for me? The reviews were not particularly good. The armholes were too low, reducing mobility. Well, that explained the issue with some of the other shirts I've sewn! How to fix it? I googled and searched and everything either just said "raise the armhole" (but what about the sleeves?!) or was way too complicated or too easy (shown on a sleeveless top). Finally I found it. Cut a box around the bottom of the armhole. Raise that up, add new tissue to the side seam. Reduce the sleeve head by the amount you raised the armhole. It seemed too easy!

I found a great video explaining all this too, though she said it wasn't 1:1, but more like shorten the armhole twice what the difference was. I figured it was easier to trim the sleeve down than to add length after it's cut.



I finally cut it out, and basted it together. I was quite impressed! Though the fabric seemed itchy! Tweaked the armhole a smidge more then serged it together and added the neck facing and hems. Then I sat down to pick out the basting. Except that I forgot I had to change a serger thread and it was a different colour and I thought it was the basting...

Originally I thought it was two shades of grey, plus purple. But I was wearing brown pants, and it looked fine.
The kids and hubby approved of this shirt. They said it looked store bought. Which, to an unconfident sewer, is the best compliment!  Especially compared to what they said about some pants I made...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ugly Mitts

Not all of the mitts I make are gorgeous! I made another pair of the Newfie mitts for the kindergarten kids, and I was determined to make them bigger. It went well, but as often happens, I got impatient with the ribbing and started the hand. Once I was done, I really felt it needed to be a longer ribbing. I just picked up all the purl bumps from the cast on and then increased into these. Or something. It was too tight to pick up each stitch on the cast on edge anyway. Sure, it shows. But not one kid has said to me that it's a problem.
For the thumb gusset, this time I did short rows starting with one stitch in the middle of the outer side of the thumb, working short rows with one more stitch until I had all the front stitches in work, then worked all the way around the thumb, increasing one in the corners. As far as I can tell, they fit much better.

These are 100% wool and did not use up as much grey as I was hoping. Oh well.

I did buy two balls of cheap yarn at Dollar Tree for a project. $2.82 for 100gr. Yeah. Wait till you see what I made.

Yarn In: 100gr + 1542gr =1642gr
Yarn Out: 57gr + 1448gr= 1505gr
Balance: 137gr more bought than used
Costs:  $2.82 +$37.91= $40.73/88 days = $0.46per day

Friday, March 17, 2017

Grey Hat

Early in January I took my daughter to Giant Tiger and we just happened to see these "Knit a Hat" kits that came with yarn, a faux fur pompom and circular needles. She decided she needed a new hat. Fine. She wanted it just like her brother's Roots hat, which is a fine ribbed slouchy toque. All the foreigners to my blog are like "Giant Tiger"? "Roots?" "Toque?" LOL. I explained that I could make it ribbed, similar to a black hat I had made her (also from a finer yarn) but it would not look the same. She was okay with a ribbed cuff and plain hat.

Of course, I had to do this on my SK155! Having just done a basic hat at New Year's, I had a good idea of a starting point. I think I did do a swatch though. Just to play.

 Yup. These are the only two photos I got. She says it's very warm and she wears it all the time.

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out: 74gr + 1374gr=1448gr
Balance: 94gr more bought than used
Costs:  $37.91/76days = $0.50 per day

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Newfie Mitts

I felt like dyeing yarn. Or maybe it was my daughter who wanted to dye yarn. I knit up a "blank" on my knitting machine and we spread it out on the table. She wanted turquoise stripes but we had a hard time getting it right--the top end of the blank
We were using some Easter egg dyes, and I had some Procion MX dyes. I discovered the Sky Blue was what she was really looking for, so she had fun at the other end. I used a full skein of Rowan Superwash Worsted. The mittens ended up taking most of the section she dyed. I have about 65gr left, which means if I knit mittens, each would be different. I'm tempted, but it is March 15  and surely winter has to be over soon! It doesn't look like it this week! A hat might be interesting.

I used the Newfie Mitts pattern again. As I wrote about the first pair, I made some changes to the pattern, regarding the thumb. I made the opening for the thumb where I'd normally separate the thumb gusset and the hand. This time, I picked up all around the opening, and one extra at each edge. Then I short rowed across the outer half of the thumb stitches, leaving one more stitch out of work each row, until I had just the middle stitch in work. Then I worked across all stitches. I wanted to get some extra length on the outer part of the thumb to be like a thumb gusset.

I realized after I had done it that I should have started with the middle stitch and worked outwards. I did that on the next pair.
Megan says she wishes the tops were all in the turquoise. They look a little fuzzy because she had already been wearing them before I got a picture. She says she really likes them, though she got a new coat during all this and now they totally don't match. So she wears them when she helps the new skaters at CanSkate.

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out: 83gr + 1291g = 1374gr
Balance: 168gr more bought than used
Costs:  $37.91/74days = $0.51 per day

Monday, March 13, 2017

More Mittens

We  were expecting a cold snap (uh, it was February, it's supposed to be cold) and I knew I couldn't knit up mittens in time, so I opted to sew some mittens. I have a huge sweater stash I'm thinking of parting with. I haven't had the best results sewing sweater mittens and I just don't like them as much as knitted mittens, so maybe someone else should have the stash. But sometimes there are things I might want to make that aren't mittens. I really want to try making slippers. I know I can't make back what I bought all the sweaters for, but they're not generating money just sitting there either.

These are for the kindie kids I supervise. The knitted mittens I've made have been on the smaller size and there's quite a few bigger kids. These look big to me, but apparently they're not (maybe a smidge long). The striped ones (a Gap sweater) are more popular than the other ones (a felted woven--I think--scarf.  They are a little stiff). I wanted gender neutral.



Not much else to say. My husband was able to fix my camera, saving me probably a large amount of cash, so I'm back in the game--though not much to show. It's been rather slow here. In fact, I finished the knitting part of something and I was heading to the rink, and realized I had nothing to take with me! I was going to just grab some more wool and make some more mittens, but I opted for a camo Baby Surprise Jacket. Why not. I have one in my "In Stock" box, so now I'll have two.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Yearly Comparisons

I think it's about time to do the yearly comparison recap post. How many years have I been keeping track of my yarn use? Let's find out!

Oh man. I thought I had more years with negative yarn addition to the stash! So close last year!

                    2016                     2015                      2014                           2013                            2012
Yarn In:    11 223gr                 9 989gr                 10 076                        16 153                         21 096
Yarn Out:  11 193gr                9 272gr                  8 061                         16 805                         16 849
Balance:           30gr +               717gr +               2 015gr +                       625gr -                   4 247gr+
Costs:         $507.27                 $430.10               $511.49                     $378.91                        $524.43

Five Year Totals 
Yarn In:       68 537gr
Yarn Out:     62 180gr
Balance:         6 357gr
Costs:        $2 352.20

Averages: 
Yarn In:     13 707gr
Yarn Out:  12 436gr
Balance:      1 271gr
Costs:       $470.44


This is so fascinating. I was so close to not having a positive yarn in for 2016. If I had gotten a couple things done before New Year's, then I would have. The first year I did this, I was not thinking very much about the yarn I bought. If it was a "good deal" then I bought it. Then my finances changed, and I started my little business. I tried to use up yarn as much as I could but it got harder and harder because clients had specific requests. Also, in those first two years (can't remember which one) I got a large donation of yarn from my MIL. I did re-donate much of it, so that's why my Out totals were high. I had tried to keep donations separate, but gave up. My costs didn't really vary too much. I can't believe though that I managed to ADD 6kg of yarn to my stash over 5 years! It adds up! I did pull out some to donate/sell, but it's so hard to cull through the stash. And of course, my box of  "In Stock" items has grown. No one wants to buy my in stock items!! There's some good stuff in there! I don't understand. Anyway. I highly encourage anyone who uses yarn to try this for the year. Note--I did not include purchases of patterns, dyes, needles, stuffing, etc. Just yarn.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Teddy Bear

I got a request for a custom teddy bear hat, that was urgent. Of course, I didn't know just how urgent until after I gave my quote. And then the photographer wasn't able to pick up and use right away anyway. But oh well, it was nice to have a little project to focus on.  I use some "Soft'Hair" that I had bought many years ago for a sweater. That project had been quite a challenge--the lace was worked on both sides of the knitting! I tried to tailor the sweater a bit because it was an oversized '90s pattern. I was nearly done and it got packed up and put away--I don't know why. A move? A pregnancy? Every time I'd see it, I'd think, what was I thinking--a worsted weight mohair sweater in ivory?! It was somewhat itchy and I could not imagine wearing it next to my skin. Then I needed the needles for something...

I agreed to the order before thinking of how to make it. My first thought was the pixie style hat, but I didn't want the point. While laying in bed, I thought maybe I could eliminate the point by short rowing like a sock.  My first attempt was a little too wedge like. I needed more stitches left out of work in the middle.  I don't see an easy way to download the picture from Instagram, so just go check it out

Or give me another minute and here it is:

I like those little ears, but that's not what I was going for this time. Maybe another time.

I love the end result. I can't believe how much it looks like the inspiration photo, though that photo doesn't show the back shaping, so I don't really know. From the front though, it's awesome. 

Is that not awesome? I'd love to make more!


Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out: 27gr + 1264gr = 1291g
Balance: 251gr more bought than used
Costs:  $37.91/54days = $0.70 per day

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mermaid!

Last summer my niece asked me for a mermaid blanket. They're not that cheap to make in adult sizes but I considered it. I don't make a lot for her, and now that she's 18, she's kind of out of the regular gift giving stage. Plus, we just don't see that family much. Even though it was more than I would usually spend, I didn't have much else going on so I figured I might as well. She asked for purple and red. Ummm. Okay. I shopped around and really couldn't find much in a purple and red, and I was not going to do stripes (she did ask for thick and cozy). I did find this yarn, it's "Loops & Thread" Country Loom, in, I think "Kiss Me" which is red with hints of pink and purple, "Tapestry" (the purple) and Solarium (the green).
 The pictures are SO bad. It's not maroon at ALL. Take a look on Ravelry. I'm not really happy how I blended from red to purple. I don't think I spread it out long enough. But after many attempts at getting a nice gauge and fabric and size....I was ready for this to be over.
How can the green and purple be right, but not the red? Again, a smaller tail. I know I should do them bigger, but they just get heavy and weigh down the blanket, and eat yarn like crazy.

Rumour has it my niece loves it. I've yet to hear it from her, or anyone in her family (I did put on the card that they are to share it!). It didn't make it for Christmas, but that's okay, right? For the sake of my yarn totals, it would have been nice to have it count last year (716gr), but it puts my totals in a good balance for now :)

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out: 716gr + 548gr = 1264gr
Balance: 278gr more bought than used
Costs:  $37.91/52 days = $0.73 per day

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Newfie Mitts

There is some debate on the name of these mittens. Many call them Newfie, or Newfoundland Mitts. Others call thrummed mitts, Newfie mitts. Some call these "bubble knit" or honeycomb. No matter what it is, I have had this particular pattern printed out since 2008. It was time. I wanted more "unisex" mittens for the kindie kids. These yarns are a littler thinner, but I figured this texture would be good. I used an appropriate number of stitches and needle size to get the size I wanted. I was aiming for more of a size 6 since many of the mittens are too small for bigger kids. They ended up a little smaller, and since washing, well...they're a small 4, I think.


The pattern was pretty easy. HOWEVER. Reading the pattern was not. First up, you're working in rounds, not rows. Once you get into the patterned part, you are NOT slipping two with A. You just leave A at the beginning of the round, yarn at the back. You slip those stitches that had been knit with A, but for the five rows you work with B, the other yarn is just hanging out at the start of the round.  This is talked about in the comments, but I wish she would change the pattern!!!

Some kids have commented that the thumb is too small/tight. I'll comment more about that when I post the next pair I made from this pattern. Despite the poor pattern writing, I still recommend these mittens. As I said, I'll write more on the next pair because I did do some adjusting to the thumb. Sure, these have been knit for generations just like they are...but in my True Tracy Way, I had to make adjustments! 

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out:  38gr + 510gr = 548gr
Balance: 994gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:  $37.91/45 days = $0.84 per day

Friday, February 10, 2017

Messy Bun!

Just before Christmas, a picture of a woman wearing a messy bun hat appeared on Facebook. Overnight, it was a viral hit and everyone wanted one. I posted right away on my page that I could not make any for Christmas, but if anyone was interested, I'd look at it after Christmas. There was still quite a bit of interest.

One woman who had ordered mermaid blankets before Christmas was interested in getting one, in blues and greys. Now, you'd think that would be a common colour combination. The original photo going around was a subdued jewelled multicoloured yarn with what seemed like a slight fuzz/texture. It was likely Red Heart "Unforgettable" or Mary Maxim "Studio" (not enough fuzz) or Mary Maxim "Prism" or LionBrand "Amazing". Of all of these, "Studio" was the only one with a blue grey mix but the picture was tiny, and the yarn didn't seem to have the gentle fuzz.  I couldn't believe that I couldn't find a blue grey mix in a slightly fuzzy worsted weight yarn.

I put my thinking hat on and immediately thought of the dye pot. I just happen to have an abundance of Patons "Lace" in Porcelain. All it was missing was the grey. And thickness. I have black dye and have used it to get grey before. I figured I could wind off the yarn and dye the white sections grey, and maybe some of the blue because the colour changes are long.

I should have thought a bit more. I figured I wanted three strands, but I really should have wound them together instead of separately. Anyway, I did get it dyed and was pleased, although I would have liked shorter colour runs and more grey.

I got going and whoa, was I surprised at how long the sideways "crocheted rib" band took!!  I had some concerns with this hat because the other one I made, I started at the elastic, at the opening. This one, I had to make the band, then pick up stitches and work upwards, then decreases and would I be able to crochet over the elastic going in this direction? My first couple attempts at crocheting over the elastic did not allow it to stretch much.  I realized I had decreased too many stitches because I was trying to get it to lay flat at the elastic. So I increased the number of sts over the elastic and while it now stretched nicely, it sits up a bit. I hope the messy bun covers it.   I did end up with several small balls of the yarn as I had to break it a few times to change colours and get more grey in the band part.

 My regular camera is broken so I was experimenting with our waterproof camera. The original picture was a bit hazy and dull, so I used a "filter" in editing. It's interesting. Having grown up learning on a 35mm SLR, I try to do all the editing "in camera".  I'm not a fan of all the filters and "actions" that modern photographers do. You just can't believe any picture is really what the scene actually was, once you learn how photographers are manipulating photographs in digital editing.

She couldn't come get it right away, so I thought it would be nice to use the leftover yarn to make some simple fingerless gloves. Again, I had to cut the yarn to get better colour changes. It became clear though that I would not have enough. So I went down to 2 strands. By now I had a lot of ends that would need to be woven in. It still wasn't enough. So I THREW THE YARN OUT. Yes.

And then two weeks later found another ball (3 strands) of it in the bottom of my bag.

Hat--63gr. Waste--24gr

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out:  87gr + 423gr= 510gr
Balance: 1032gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:$37.91/41 days = $0.92 per day

Friday, February 03, 2017

I Bought Yarn!

I got asked to make two crocheted water bottle holders. I actually needed to go buy the yarn! The best time to go just happened to end up being after Megan was skating on Friday night. We didn't have a whole lot of time, but I didn't know when I'd get there again and there was a 55% off coupon for the day.

I picked out two blues, and a light purple (one was to be two shades of blue, and the other in blue and purple.  I chose one shade of blue for both). Then I walked past the clearance rack, and they had some Loops & Threads "Facets" in some gorgeous colours. Megan picked out one, I picked out one, and we picked out a "manly" colour to make something for the stock bin. Not that I've sold any of the other scarves I've made. Facets weighs 100gr each.

Walking past another bin, they had those bags of "1lb Fashion Yarn Mill Ends". I found a red with glitter that I thought would be cool for the World AIDS Day scarves. It was $7.99 (400gr) and the 55% off coupon was applied to it, so it came to only $3.60 (plus tax).

I worked on the blues water bottle holder first. It kept giving me troubles. Silly things.  Finally, on Wednesday I started the blue/purple one. I did the bottom in blue then started purple on the side. There was a faint scent of soap. Every time I worked on it, I could smell it. I got the body done, and the smell was driving me crazy. I smelled the ball of yarn. It stunk like soap!! WTF?! I looked at the yarn label. It was Handicrafter "Scents"! What?! Who wants to drink out of a water bottle holder that smells like soap?! And it had been going so well :(

Off to Michaels again. I found a non-scented purple. And, I found another bag of red fashion yarn mill ends. This time I had only a 50% coupon. Still a good deal!


 Yarn In:  1342gr + 120gr =1542gr
Yarn Out:  423gr
Balance: 1119gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:$30 + $7.91=$37.91/34 days = $1.12 per day 

Kind of funny that the two Michaels' purchases added up to exactly $30!!  I have a really big item to show shortly that will bring up that "Yarn Out" total quite a bit!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Last Thing

Many years ago I knit my husband a pair of "tipless" gloves, in charcoal Decor, all in ribbing. He was doubtful at first, but soon fell in love. Last year he let our son use them for his job (time keeping a men's hockey league--he has to be able to write down player's names for the goals).  All was well until this fall when Hugh lost one. And apparently I don't have have anymore charcoal Decor. Since they couldn't really share one pair of gloves anyway, and we bought Hugh two pairs at a store (gasp! Double gasp cause I went back and bought Rob the same two pairs LOL!)....I opted to make Rob a brand new pair, in 100% wool this time. Dark black.


Once they were done, I thought the "cuff" were too short. I got bored and started the thumb gusset too soon. I kept thinking, "I should be doing this on the SK155" but then saying, no, cause then I have to seam them, and it's tedious with the fingers, and actually, it would be difficult to do the fingers. But really, next time, I think I will do up to the base of the pinky on the machine next time. Even after washing, the wool felt a little too "utilitarian".  I picked up stitches from the top row of the higher red band, on the inside, and knit a ribbed cuff in 100% alpaca. It does't extend too far past the bottom of the glove but it's still enough to ensure they're long enough.

See the odometer? 177 529km. His truck is a 2010 (I think, could be 2011). Mine is a 2001 and has only 266 564km. Crazy!

I do not have a weight for these (or at least I can't find it). I think he's afraid to bring them into the house in case they don't go back out LOL.  So, I'm estimating. They weren't entirely done by Dec 31, but the intent was there. If they weren't black, I probably would have had them finished LOL!  Wow, I'm trying to find the original ones on my blog, and I found a pair I made for me, Dec 18, 2006. In the post I saw I made a pair for Rob "a couple years ago". Whoa. I had no idea it was that long ago--pre-blog. Those poor gloves of mine.  Got frozen into a snowbank near where I picked the kids up from school, had to wait till spring to get it out, then I found one in a puddle of slush in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Hadn't even realized I had lost it and incredibly I had parked in the same spot. Unfortunately, there was only one.

These are 2016 totals:

Yarn In:    11 223gr
Yarn Out: 95gr + 11 098gr= 11 193gr
Balance:  30gr more bought than used
Costs:  $507.27 /366 days = $1.38/day

I ended up with a 30gr surplus?!  Not fair! I'll do a more detailed yearly comparison later. I've got work to do.




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Custom!

I LOVE getting custom orders for unique items. Usually they start out as a question--"Is it possible to make....".  With over 20 years experience, I have a lot of knowledge to draw on.  Crochet vs Knit? Wool? Machine Knit or Hand Knit? Design? Stitches?

One day I saw a post in our local "HomeMADE" Facebook group. A woman had injured her wrist badly and was going to be in various splints for quite a while. She couldn't find anything to keep her hand warm (and it was quite cold that week!). I immediately sprung on it, knowing that making a mitten in ribbing would be awesome. I thought maybe I could even felt the hand portion, leaving the ribbing unfelted. She wanted purple and grey and the only wool that I had both purple and grey in was Moda Dea's "Washable Wool".  Which most likely wouldn't felt due to it's chained structure. Oh well.

I got to work swatching on the SK155. Then, I couldn't find my copy of Ann Budd's calculations for mittens! So, I went with what I knew from my 20 years experience (lady's mitten, worsted yarn, 20st/4", Cast on 40sts).  I used T3 for the ribbing and T2 for the stockinette. And why did I knit the hand flat when I have a ribber and could have knit it in the round? Ummm. Habit? Well, this is a real "D'oh" moment. Especially since I struggled a bit to get the seaming of the stripes looking good!

After I got part way through the first one I remembered that I had scanned the pattern. Well, I couldn't find the pages with the calculations, but I could find the schematic page so I worked out the rest of the numbers from that.


The second mitt, I cast on 50st instead of 40 and kept the ribbing going up to the top of the thumb separation, and on the thumb, because her thumb was strapped down next to her hand, though there was space between the thumb and the hand. I had trouble increasing in the ribbing for the thumb and it doesn't look all that great along the seam.  The seam on the normal mitten is at the non-thumb side, which means I did all the thumb increasing in the middle of the piece and moved all the stitches (one side only) outwards. I just love this type of thumb gusset. I also kept the right thumb in ribbing to stretch easily over the splint.

The mitten feels a bit loose on me but I do prefer snug mittens. And it's not knit as tightly as I would have liked. But she needed it ASAP!  And, as luck would have it, she couldn't pick up for a few days and the weather turned warm. Hopefully, with it hovering around 0C now, she can make use of them.

Yarn In:  120gr
Yarn Out: 96gr + 327gr = 423gr
Balance: 303gr more USED than in
Costs: $7.91/25 days = $0.32 per day

Monday, January 23, 2017

Simple

Just after Christmas, there was a post in a Facebook group I'm in, for a woman looking for a satin lined, wool slouchy hat. A few people posted they had slouchy hats but no one said anything about the satin lined part. I asked why she wanted satin lining and mentioned some drawbacks (satin doesn't stretch, it might feel cold). She shared a link about how the satin protects the hair fiber from rubbing on the wool fibers and creating damage.

I thought this was interesting. Sock knitters often say that wearing wool socks on carpet will wear them out quickly. Makes sense. We chatted and I sent her some samples of brown wool yarn, and she picked this random skein of "Topsy Wool" that I had. I don't know where it came from, but I think Value Village. I know I could look back on my blog but I don't even know what year LOL. I also had some brown satin.  I did a swatch on the SK155 and got to work. The first attempt wasn't quite right, shape-wise. So I went even simpler with the crown decreasing.


Then I cut some satin to sew into the inner hat, trying to shape the top a bit so it wouldn't be bunchy inside. Somehow, it didn't fit. So I cut another one. It fit better, but I would have still liked it a bit looser in case her head was bigger than average.  I sewed it on using a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine, lining up with the top of the ribbing. I was impressed with how well the wool hid the stitching. I really thought it would look bad!

I like the end result. The ribbed band feels a little loose, but it might just be because the satin feels tight. She says it fits. The wool fluffed up nicely after washing, though it is still a more "rustic" yarn. I'd definitely use it again, especially for mittens.  I used 95gr for the hat, and the skeins are 113gr.  If anyone wants more detail on the pattern, let me know, but basically, I just swatched and worked the numbers :)


Yarn In:  120gr
Yarn Out: 95gr + 232gr = 327gr
Balance: 207gr more USED than in
Costs: $7.91/23 days = $0.34 per day