Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pastel Squid

This past weekend I spent most of my time in my craft room cleaning, organizing, and ogling my supplies. I've gotten it to a point where I can see and find what I need, and I (finally) have work space! I created an L shape with a small desk and craft table and have my laptop set up on the small desk, along with decent speakers so I can watch videos or listen to music while I work. There's a small portion of the 6ft craft table taken up by supplies, but the rest is cleared off for working.

Earlier this week I did a few drawings, and last night I decided to do a little chalk pastel painting. I might change it, add more to it, or just leave it and start working on something else. But it feels wonderful to have space again!

I'm still plugging away on my yarn bombing project for Strangefolk. I'm hoping to finish the canvas part of the project by the end of the month (or sooner!) and then start on the embroidery.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Yarn & Thoughts for the Day

About 2 ½ years ago, I bought a friend a gift certificate to one of my favorite yarn stores, Knitorious, shortly after teaching her to knit. She ended up giving up the craft and forgot about the certificate, which she uncovered a couple months ago. No longer a knitter herself, she contacted the shop and asked if it would still be honored (which is was) and then re-gifted it back to me. Sandy, the owner of Knitorious, was great about honoring the gift certificate and last weekend I went up there and picked out two gorgeous yarns, as shown on the right.

I haven't had much else going on craft-wise lately. I am still working on my yarn bombing project for Strange Folk Festival. I'm almost to 3 feet! Completely non-craft related, I thought I would share some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head this week.

Recently, someone close to me made a comment that really got me thinking. They criticized something, judged. I think we all judge others to some extent, and sometimes I think we scrutinize the people who are closest to us more than we do anyone else, including even ourselves. We have built-in expectations that the people we love will live a certain way, feel a certain way, act a certain way, and when they don’t live up to those expectations, we end up feeling disappointed in them.

But what if we got rid of our expectations? What if we instead accept people for who they are. Love them as they are, not as they might someday be. Help them when they ask for it and offer it even when they don’t. What if we don’t tell them how they should feel, how they should act, and how they should change? Most of the time we spend judging others would be much better spent if we instead focused on ourselves, the things we want to accomplish, and the person we want to be.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finished Object Friday: Head Wrap

Left to my own devices last night, I decided to finally pick out some buttons for the head wrap piece I finished a few months back. It originally started out as a shawl, but my cat destroyed the last skein of yarn I had and since the yarn is from the 70s, I was unable to find a match for it.

Ironically, when I went to visit my grandma over Memorial Day weekend (a month or so after I'd already bound off this project) we found more of the red mohair I'd used for this. Go figure. That might explain why I've taken so long to do something as simple as sew buttons on to the project to finish it. Since it didn't work as a shawl (I was about 2/3rds of the way finish), I decided it would make a good head wrap for winter.

In the below photo on the right I back lit the piece; I think it makes the pattern really pop.

I can button it all up under my chin, or button it under my chin and behind my neck under my hair if I want. Mohair is a little scratchy for me, but overall I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.

The more projects I knit, the more I learn to be happy with mistakes/mishaps and the unexpected. Something can start as one project and end up a totally different item by the time you're done with it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Strange Folk Festival Yarn Bombing Project

In my previous blog post, I mentioned yarn bombing, and this project that a friend is putting together. Instead of finishing the red scarf I've been working on this month, I started on my piece for this project. My tree is "Super Grover" and my piece should be 7ft by 2-ish ft.

Below is the design I currently have which will involve knitting one giant canvas and then crocheting/knitting the bigger pieces and sewing them on. And then doing some type of embroidery I'm thinking. In the end this will be more of a yarn painting or mural than anything, but I'm OK with that as long as I can get it finished in time!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Yarn Bombing!

Ever heard of yarn bombing? It's like graffiti, but less permanent and a LOT more fun. This year, Autumn Wiggins, owner of Upcycle Exchange in St. Louis and organizer of the Strange Folk Festival (held every September in O'Fallon, Illinois) is leading the charge for yarn bombing at the O'Fallon Community Park for the festival this year.

To join in and help with knitting (locally or from a distance!), visit here. If you're in need of yarn, Autumn has a great selection at the Upcycle shop!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Red Scarf, 70s Yarn, and Unicorns

Back in April I started working on the pattern for this scarf. Unfortunately, the scarf started curving like crazy. Thanks to a fellow knitter on Ravelry, I made a minor adjustment to the pattern, frogged the original scarf and started over. I'm about halfway through now with minimal curving/shape issues. The pattern's pretty simple:

R1 - K
R2 - K
R3 - K
R4 - K2 *y/o, K2tog (repeat 8 times)* K1
R5 - K
R6 - K
R7 - K
R8 - K1, K2tog *y/o, K2tog (repeat 7 times)* y/o, K2

Repeat to desired length. End by knitting 3 rows.

A few weeks ago I went to visit my grandma to help her sort her yarn. This is the stash I came home with. A while back she gave me a couple skeins of the red mohair (on top of the pile) to knit up into a shawl, but my cat destroyed the last skein to finish the project and up until my last visit, neither my grandma or I could find more. I bound it off a couple months ago to turn it into a head wrap not realizing there was more yarn just waiting for me. As soon as I find the right buttons to sew on, I'll finish it up and see how it looks.

I was told most of the yarn is from the 70's and I love the colors but haven't decided what to do with any of it yet. I imagine there will be some fun projects in the future...
And speaking of fun projects, I won a give away from this blog. Can you say Unicorns?! I haven't done cross stitch in a while, but this might give me the perfect excuse.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June already?

June has snuck up me this year. My online class started yesterday (Intro to American Government here I come), and I feel overflowing with ideas and projects. Besides knitting, I also do photography and just last month got in with a local shop whose selling my work. I spent the weekend matting greeting cards and working on my pendant necklaces. The rest of the week will be spent matting prints and trying to get some photos of my products taken.

This has left my knitting sorely neglected. I'm still working on a pattern for that scarf that was curving on me; I think I'm about half way through after frogging it and starting over. I started on a pattern for a fingerless glove and in my disarray of a house right now, I lost the notes half way through and am debating starting over or just moving on for now. Tsk tsk, I know.

The weekend before last was spent at my grandma's down in Tennessee where we went through and organized her yarn stash. While helping sort, I was also given a few additions to my own stash. Most are missing tags, but I think the majority are acrylic yarns so at least they'll be washable. She's starting to work on a weaving, something she hasn't done in a decade or two. As we were talking about it, it reminded me of the shoebox weaving I did in school as some 1st or 2nd grade project. Does anyone else remember doing those? I think mine ended up as little rugs for my mom's flower pots.

Monday, May 23, 2011


After I organized my yarn stash a few months back, I realized how HUGE my stash really is. During the past few months, that stash has only grown. I was gifted a $50 yarn shopping spree for my birthday, Upcycle Exchange opened (see my most recent finds there to the right), and next weekend I'm visiting my grandma who wants me to help organize her stash, and give me even MORE yarn.

Clearly I have become an addict.

Yarn isn't my only addiction collection, though. I also have an affinity for globes/maps, a shelf of antique cameras, and a collection of die-cast pencil sharpeners. Not to mention the now hundreds of books I have that are overflowing out of my three bookcases... I have started on a mission to clean up these collections, and to organize my crafting space and get to work!

So what about all of you out there: What are your addictions/collections?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ball Winder

A couple weeks ago I ordered the Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder. At 40% off I justified the cost against the hand winders that I'd previously had my eye on, and when it arrived on my doorstep this past weekend I couldn't wait to test it out. I've only used it on two small skeins so far, but plan on going through a lot more bits and pieces over the next few weeks.

In testing my new winder out, I did run into a few issues. Even the lowest setting seemed too fast for my liking - at least for starting out. At the speed it went, the yarn tangled more easily and came out from the guide, which caused it to periodically stop and need to other be tapped or turned back off and on. Besides those minor setbacks, I'm happy so far and hope I can work out some of the kinks. My hope is that some of the issues I'm having are my not being used to the winder versus a problem with the winder itself.

If anyone else has this winder and has any tips/tricks or just general comments on it, let me know. Below is the before and after of my first skein, the left over yarn from my phone sock.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

From muck-up to phone sock

This past weekend I started this pattern for some pretty hand-warmers. Midway through the pattern I realized I'd mucked something up as it wasn't quite matching up with the image. So I altered the pattern a bit, hand sewed up the bottom and side, and ended up with a sock for my phone and/or iPod. All in all not a bad day for a mucked up project.

The yarn I got from a recent raid of Upcycle Exchange (an amazing group you fellow St. Louis crafters should consider joining, or just popping by their new store front for some craft supplies).

Below is the pattern I ended up with:

Phone/iPod Sock Pattern

Yarn weight: Light (yarn didn't have a tag, so I'm estimating)
Suggested Needle Size: 4.00mm

Cast on 34 stitches

Row 1: *k1,p1*
Row 2: *p1,k1*

Repeat Rows 1-2 three times.

Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl

Repeat Rows 3-4 fifteen times.

Row 5: *k2,p2*
Row 6: *p2,k2*

Repeat Rows 5-6 three times.

Fold in half (back of stockinette stitch showing), sew bottom and up side, fold inside out(outside in?) and you're done.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


So I started working on a new scarf, shown on the right.

Cast on 19 stitches

R1 - K
R2 - K
R3 - K
R4 - K2 *y/o, K2tog (repeat 8 times)* K1

I like the pattern it creates, but I'm having a minor issue. The further along I get, the more I'm noticing that the scarf is starting to slowly curve. I'm wondering if it has anything to do with the pattern itself or maybe the way I'm knitting. If any of you have any ideas on why it's happening or how I can stop it, let me know.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


A few months ago I came across this beautiful green cotton yarn on clearance at Tuesday Morning. Never having worked with cotton before (and unable to resist a good deal), I bought a couple skeins. This weekend I finally put it to use and tried my hand at creating a pattern for a washcloth.

Below is the result and the pattern. I actually altered the pattern a bit after the fact to get rid of the excess bit at the top (a couple rows of knitting that made the pattern uneven).

I was told I could just buy one at the store for $1, but come on, where's the fun in that?

Washcloth Pattern:

Yarn: Ella Rae Baby Cotton
Weight: DK / 8 ply
Suggested Needle size: 4.00mm (US 6) (I used 4.5mm (US 7) as I tend to knit a little tight)

Cast on 30 stitches

R1 – K
R2 – K
R3 – K
R4 – K
R5 – K2 *p* K2
R6 – K
R7 – K2 *p* K2
R8 – K2 *p* K2
R9 – K2 *p* K2
R10 – K2 *y/o, K2tog (repeat 13 times)* K2

Repeat Rows 1-10 twice more

R11 – K
R12 – K
R13 – K
R14 – K
R15 – K2 *p* K2
R16 – K
R17 – K2 *p* K2
R18 – K
R19 – K
R20 – K
R21 - K (and bind off)

Click here to download this pattern.

*This is my first pattern, so if any notations seem off or there's a simpler way to write it, let me know.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Check Your Dye Lot!

When I picked the yarn for this baby blanket, I eye-balled the colors. While they do match, the dye lot made a definite difference in the overall pattern. Thankfully, I don't view it as a total loss. The more I look at the variation (and the more I'm told it looks fine), the more it grows on me.

I ended up using yarn to crochet the flowers instead of embroidery thread, then I attached buttons and sewed them straight on to the blanket.

Unfortunately, the blanket also curls a bit, something fairly common to a stockinette stitch. I thought the border would be enough to prevent that; maybe a wider border would fix the issue? If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Yarn and New Storage

Thanks to Craigslist I found the perfect solution to my yarn storage dilemma: An antique metal bookcase.

The previous owner said it originally belonged to her grandfather and she thought it was from the 1930's or 40's. It's sliding glass doors keep away the cats (and their fur), and unlike the plastic drawers I was using, it's much easier to see and grab what I'm looking for. It also came with a wood stand with caster wheels that her grandfather had built for it which makes it easy to move around if necessary.

And I couldn't have found it at a better time. After a trip to the Lebanon Flea market yesterday, I came away with nearly 30 skeins for 30 dollars (Willpower, what's that?). After assessing all the yarn I have now, I am amused, albeit not that surprised, at how many skeins of yarn I had squirreled away over the years. Now I just need to start assigning projects to them.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blanket for Baby Abigail

I started this project a little over two weeks ago. About half way through now, I am amazed at how much faster this blanket is going than the first one I knitted.

I started knitting my first blanket (coincidentally the background for this blog) about two years ago, and it was quickly dubbed the "Never Ending Blanket of Doom." I had to be meticulously careful with each stitch. One time I dropped a stitch, and the whole thing almost unraveled from the inside out. It took me half a year before it even resembled a blanket, and the thing had me nearly in tears on several occasions. Almost a year later I had given life to a small blue lace blanket, a gift finished just in time for my mother's birthday.

Compared to the simple lace pattern on the first blanket, the stockinette stitch I'm using requires no counting, no stitch markers, and I've even done a few rows without looking down. Right now the plan is to crochet up some flowers with embroidery thread and attach them randomly to the blanket when it's finished. I'm hoping this adds a girly touch while still keeping the blanket soft, useable, and washing machine friendly.

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft
Color: Baby Brights
Needles: Size 10 (6mm) circular