Monday, April 05, 2021

Pink and Pretty

 I dug out all my odd balls of worsted weight again, trying to get inspiration for my next charity blanket. I had a lot of pinks, it seemed, so that became the next plan.

Corner to corner crochet. Changing yarns as I felt like it. 

Nice to work on something that can also keep me warm LOL

This took me about two weeks, using worsted weight and 5.5mm hook (or maybe 6mm), 35"x48"

Not much else to say. It didn't wash up as soft and limp as the last blanket, which was an unlabelled Red Heart yarn from Cambridge Fibres. Some of the yarns in this blanket are very old. A couple were from White Rose Nurseries, which closed the last of their stores in 2002 (doesn't sound that long ago, until I realize it was 19 years LOL). 

Yarn In:  0gr
Yarn Out: 1279gr + 649gr = 1928gr
Balance:  1928gr more OUT than in
Cost:  $0, $0/day

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Outside My Box

 I wanted some new mittens for my winter/spring coats. One is plum-ish, the other is bright pink. I found some superwash wool in my stash and at first, I was going to play it safe. Stripes, maybe black. As I looked at the balls of yarn though, I started to think---why not get a little crazy? I have the pair of fingerless gloves that I wear all the time, and people often comment on how cheery they are. Why not do something like that? I thought Fair Isle would be good because the floats on the inside add to the warmth. 

I dug out my stitch pattern books and got looking. At first, I liked some large scale designs but I worried about having enough yarn, and wanted to incorporate several colours. And I didn't know how many rows I'll end up with, and didn't want to have them look like they ended abruptly.  I settled on this simple 4st, 3 row repeat. 

I started the cuff, and I wasn't sure what my direction was going to be. I thought let's go random stripes. It's usually hidden inside my coat anyway. I do kind of wish I had gone more basic though. 

Then I started the pattern after the ribbing. I really got into the stitch pattern and kept forgetting to start the thumb gusset!! So the mittens end up being rather long inside my coat--have to put them on before my coat LOL. 

For the increasing section of the thumb gusset, I kept the stitch pattern to every other stitch, rather than try to incorporate the hand pattern. 


It got up to my knuckles and I really was afraid of running out of the pink. It was kind of an awkward length. So I made the end cuff long. They're almost mittens. I thought I might make them as convertible mittens, but there's not enough yarn to keep with the pattern. 

These will keep me toasty through much of the winter. I can tuck my fingers inside for those "didn't know I'd need mittens" times. 

Yarn In:  0gr
Yarn Out:  83gr + 1196gr = 1279gr
Balance:  1279gr more OUT than in
Cost:  $0, $0/day

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Simple but Effective

 I finished the latest blanket for Crocheted Blankets for Seniors (they accept knitted ones too!). This was so easy. Four rows main colour, in stockinette. One row in contrast, in the pattern stitch, then one row in contrast in knit stitch (even though you are on the back side; this creates a nice textured ridge to the front).  Every 4th stitch on the contrast row 1 is done like this:

Locate the stitch on the contrast band below--follow the column down to the contrast row

Insert the right tip into that stitch of the contrast row. You're going into the top stitch (there are two rows in the contrast "band").

Knit the stitch, pulling the strand through. The four main coloured rows are still on the left needle.

Drop the stitch off the left needle, and give a little tug to unravel the four rows. They will be caught behind the contrast stitch! 
On the next contrast row, you'll center that tuck stitch you did. So, the first time, it's MMMCMMMC and the second time it's MCMMMCMM.  Of course, you don't have to do 3 main colour stitches, you could do any odd number. Just centre the tuck stitch.
Depending on how much you steam it, and shape it, it will create nice little bubbles. My black yarn was rather delicate--a thin chenille--so I didn't make those stitches too tight. You could though, and it would emphasize the bubble effect.

The back side is nice and tidy and looks good too, even though it's not technically reversible. 

This blanket ended up a smidge narrow (by about 2-3") and only 440gr. I had a pound of this yarn (454gr), so I have some left. I will probably take all the bright yarns I've used recently and create another blanket. 

Yarn In:  0gr
Yarn Out:  440gr + 756gr = 1196gr
Balance:  1196gr more OUT than in
Cost:  $0, $0/day

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Quick and Easy Project

 Way back last summer, a weekly email from Cricut included a link to a tutorial on making a subway tile backsplash. I sent it to my Mom. She's been trying to re-do her backsplash, but wanted something non-permanent, cheap, and easy. This seemed to fit the bill and she was excited to give it a go.  I found some non-permanent vinyl at Happy Crafters in a soft orange. Yes, she wanted orange.  My brother was painting the laundry room so he painted the backsplash to represent the mortar.

I took measurements while we were there dropping off the dog before our cottage trip. I took some time during the vacation to figure out what size a tile should be. The general idea for a subway tile is that it is twice as long as it is high. However, I wanted to minimize cutting and fitting on the wall, and get the most effective use of the 12"x12" sheets. I finally created a size, I'm not sure what it is now but I was able to fit 8 on a sheet with hardly any waste. In the tutorial, she mentions 4 or 5. I bought 30 sheets because I calculated 28.75 sq ft. I was worried if that would be enough. I knew I'd have to trim some, and would those trimmings be usable in other spots? What if I mess some up? I cut them out and didn't get to weeding them right away (which isn't really necessary).

After it had sat for awhile, the vinyl sort of shrunk from the cut lines. When it was fresh, it was hard to see the cut lines, but in the picture above, you can clearly see each tile.

Easy weeding, but it added up to a lot of waste. I do hate that about vinyl crafting.

All done! We were planning a surprise visit during Thanksgiving weekend and I thought maybe I could get it done.

It took a bit to figure out the best way to do it, keep them straight, create the grout spacing. I started over on this end because it's a short wall, with something in front usually LOL
I noticed right away, that the non-permanent vinyl is not opaque. It's a bit translucent and feels thinner. This meant that the defects in the wall she was hoping to cover, showed up. You can see this in the tile above the outlet.

And...this section was all I got done. And then life, surgery, recovery, more COVID restrictions...finally I decided I just needed to go for a day. Which turned into two nights. I had other things (food, vitamins, electrical panel) to deliver that she needed, so I wasn't totally breaking the rules!  

I had started with 1/4" grout line above the wood strip. However, as I went over, I couldn't keep that, and keep the tiles straight. It was frustrating. I didn't want to trim tiles for the bottom row, so I had to fudge and play.

I couldn't get right into the corner behind the TV. The angle that I needed to twist/stand/lay down at was too uncomfortable for my left ankle. 

We were left with a lot of tiles left. Maybe 10 sheets? Not sure. 

So this quick and easy project, took six months to (almost) finish. LOL. She's happy and still determined that she wants an orange backsplash. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Moving Along

 I posted a few posts ago about casting on way too many stitches for a blanket.

I cast on the appropriate number of stitches and got going. It's pretty quick, since there's 5 rows out of 6 that are just knit plain!
The colours seem much more vibrant in these pictures. I don't notice a bright yellow stripe in real life!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Quick Knit

 This was one of those projects that seemed like it was taking forever, and then suddenly, it's done. 

I was browsing in my yarn store (what my family calls my stash) and found this ball of soft yarn.  I thought the colours would look nice with my two new winter coats--one bright pink, one dark wine. I used to have a lot of winter accessories in wine/plum/marron, but they're quite worn, or even no longer in my bin (even though I still have the coat they were made for). 

I knew from the roving style, and a quick Ravelry search, that the yarn needed a stitch pattern with some structure, to help it keep from pilling. My first thought was a nice squishy Brioche scarf. Brioche takes more yarn than regular ribbing though, and I wasn't sure the one ball was going to be enough. I did find a mobius neck warmer in the projects that were done with the yarn. It linked to a Purl Soho pattern for a Fisherman's Rib scarf. The woman had given it a twist before sewing the ends together. She says she used one ball, and cast on 21 sts. 

So that's what I did.

It seemed to go so slow. Not very long rows, but for a thick yarn, the length sure didn't grow very fast.

And then, all of a sudden, I was nearly at the end of the ball, and it was not long enough to wrap twice around me snugly (I didn't want long and drape-y; I wanted it close fitting). I found this ball of Lopi in my "store". The colour worked. It is 100% wool, and a bit scratchy, and will felt if washed/dry wrong, but the main yarn said handwash too.  I ripped back a ways, then did chunky stripes where I used one yarn for one row, slide the stitches back, used the other yarn for the next row (but having to purl in the stitch below rather than knit in the stitch below). It was turning out one colour on one side and the other colour on the other side. Then I accidentally switched for two stripes. Then I went back to thick sections with one colour on each side.

I did manage to figure out one row stripes (the green and wine section)

I figure once it's wrapped around my neck twice, it all gets mixed together

I did end up having to do a bit at the end with just the Lopi. Then I gave it one twist, and grafted the start to the end (I had done a provisional cast on). I didn't do a great job; one side it blends in, the other side has a ridge.

You can see the two rows of Lopi  here, but over all I think it blends fine.

It works well with my coat. I can wrap it twice, and pull it over my nose, or I can loop it once and it lays pretty flat inside my coat. 

Yarn In:  0gr
Yarn Out:  156gr + 600gr = 756gr
Balance:  756gr more OUT than in
Cost:  $0, $0/day

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Happy Heart Day

 I don't think I've ever decorated for Valentine's Day before. I keep my snowmen and snowflake stuff up, but I don't think I have anything else. So, since I have the Cricut now, I decided it was time! I wanted to do a layered heart. Should be simple to find a SVG, right?

Nope. Well, yes, there are some out there. They either cost money, or the website caused my virus protection to stop me, or the link was dead or just not what I wanted. 

I finally found this one:  but of course, I couldn't make it with just four layers! I took the third layer, duplicated it, then created an outset. Then I had to enlarge the bottom layer too, increasing it by the same number of outsets (Inkscape).

I thought I had deleted tiny cutouts, but due to the smaller size (8.5"x11"), I could have simplified it a b it more.

Here are all the layers. Adding the extra layer just filled it in a bit. It would have been fine without it, but I'm of the mindset, the more layers, the better LOL.

I did have some issues cutting this. I used the intricate cut setting. I don't know if the blade had some residue, or is getting worn, or if it was the red paper (different colours cut differently). I had to use my little swivel blade to cut parts out by hand.

I found some red ribbon in my sewing desk, and along with some painter's tape, I have a new front door decoration! Simple and sweet, just like me.