Monday, September 28, 2009

Too many WIPs! And a fairy distraction...

I have a TON of projects in progress right now. I had been aiming to finish a quilt for my mom to hand-sew the binding on during her visit but instead of finishing one project I kept inching forward two. So now I have my strip twist table runner top finished but it's not quilted. My Soiree quilt has all 40 blocks pieced, pressed and trimmed. But they haven't been arranged or sewn together. I'm also doing some piecing on the back so still a ways to go on that one!

Here's a pic of the table runner currently:

And I'm working on several knitting projects too. I'm *almost* done with my Baby Surprise Jacket. I did decide to do an I-cord bind off so I had to learn how and I've had to rip it out once and start it again. Apparently I'm a loose knitter but a tight I-corder! Now I'm making progress though the I-cord feels slow. Hopefully I'll be posting that later this week. :)

Here a picture from about half way through - it's an amoeba!

Plus I always have a lace project in the works. I'm making another triangle shawl this time with Noro Kureyon sock. I really hated that yarn at first but it's growing on me. It IS very fun watching the colors develop through the work. I'll decide after blocking if I'll use it again though. It needs to soften up a LOT to make the cut. Right now if looks like it's growing nicely but I've only used 40% of my yarn!

But the real reason I don't have anything finished to show is that I've been working on my fairy swap projects! I'm pretty happy with how they turned out and I can't wait to hear how my fairee family likes them! Maybe I'll post some pictures after the gifts are received. And I'll soon have our swap gifts to show too!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tiny knitting = tiny sock

I knitted my first sock! Granted it's only about 2 inches tall but it IS a sock. This pattern and sock blocker keychain kit were too cute to pass up. It was a quick, fun project and although I misread the pattern in one spot, it's a keychain so who cares? Looks passable to me. :)
There's something pretty funny about knitting such a tiny object. My fingers felt huge!

I used size 00 needles and magic looped. I had a 40" cable (the greatly flexible ones from Knitpicks) and was able to switch between having my stitches in 2 sections and 3 which was useful for creating the heel. Raveled here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What do Tinkertoys have to do with knitting?

Remember Tinkertoys? I'm not sure I ever owned any actually, I was more of a Lincoln Log/Lego builder. But I recently read about a crazy and useful purpose for these classic toys.

Let me just back up and say that one thing that surprised me when I started knitting was finding out that a lot of yarn isn't sold to you ready to use! Some yarn is sold in balls and those are fine but others are sold in hanks. A hank is basically just a huge loop of yarn and you CAN NOT knit with it. You'd get a giant tangled knot in no time so you first have to wind it into a ball. If you buy from your local yarn store they will wind it for you but if you buy online you're generally on your own. Doing this by hand can take a LOT of time. Especially the finer(thinner) the yarn you are using. Hanks of laceweight are 400-1200 yards! Can you imagine winding 1000+ yards by hand? Me neither.

So yes they sell tools to deal with this. The first is a ball winder. They are pretty cheap, small, and actually fun to use. I do own one. The other piece is a yarn swift and they aren't cheap or fun. Really all they have to do is hold the giant loop of yarn and spin and I couln't justify the expense. But now we get to the Tinkertoys... I came across directions to turn a simple Junior set of Tinkertoys into a yarn swift. Ingenious!

It worked wonderfully and in no time at all I had turned my 655 yards of Sea Silk into this beautiful yarn cake ready to go. And of course, the Tinkertoys break down and can go back to just being toys when you're done. I'm sure with 2 boys in the house this won't be a regretted purchase.

It's even a snap to adjust for all the different sizes those hanks come in. My Knitpicks Shimmer lace needed three orange spokes an one green.

Yummy yarn :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Doll Quilt Swap

I got my doll quilt completed and mailed and received mine in return already!
I posted pictures of the quilt back and front already but here they are again, all quilted and binding done. Yes I managed to bind a quilt without my mom to help me! I changed the stitch I was doing, used a very very thin and short needle and my hand stitching went much, MUCH quicker. Maybe someday I'll even grow to enjoy it!

And here is the GORGEOUS quilt I received in the swap! I love it and I think it will get hung in our bedroom. Ben likes it too as you can see. :)

Speaking of my mom helping me with my quilts, I need to get going on my next quilt before she arrives for her next visit. I've pieced 28 out of 40 squares for the top. Plus I plan to make the back pieced so a bit of work there too. I'm using a layer cake of Moda Soiree plus some extra fabric. Hope it works out well!
Here is a peak of what I've got so far:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Arrrrr! Pirate Baby doesn't like his pumpkin hat!

Babies. So silly.
A few weeks ago Ben's older brother was playing with his dress up clothes. I decided to put a pirate hat and eye patch on the baby so he wouldn't feel left out and also because it would look ridiculous. Oh and it did. But he crawled around wearing them for a while! Wearing an eye patch and he didn't mind it at all! So you'd think he'd wear just about anything.
Anything except his pumpkin hat as it turns out. :(

I finished two more knitting projects - hats! As soon as I saw a pattern for a pumpkin hat I was set on making one for Ben. I thought it would be so cute!
It was an easy, quick project and I learned a lot of new skills making it (magic loop instead of DPNs, colorwork, i-cord). Raveled here. But the pirate baby won't let me take a picture of him wearing it. Crazy enough, my 3.5-year old has the same size head just about and he was happy to model:

I love how the decreases look as parts of the leaf pattern!

The other hat I made for myself. Raveled here. I do still need to find an interesting, big button for it. You can't see it well in the picture but there is actually a flap on the seed stitch section.

I started on it way back in the spring. It got warm and I just didn't want to work on a wool hat at the time so I started my feather and fan shawl instead. I also needed to switch to DPNs (double-pointed needles) to join it in a round and I didn't own those yet! I have since learned the magic loop technique and I am HOOKED. Basically you just use a long (40" or so) circular and then you don't need DPNs, or shorter length circulars either. I particularly love this since I use the interchangeable Options needles from Knit Picks. Instead of buying circulars in every size I just needed one longer cable (which I already had and liked using for the shawl) and now I can magic loop for all my needle sizes!

I love all the colors in this yarn (Sheep Shop Sheep 1) and the way each nub of the seed stitch is a different color. I ended up buying 2 more hanks of this yarn/color to make mittens and neck warmer.

Oh and one more fun thing - Craig over at Loop put my feather and fan shawl on their blog! It was actually an old post on that blog which led me to that pattern in the first place. The lovely Lorna's Laces yarn I used was purchased at Loop.