Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday 3/30

Today's WIP Wednesday is much like last week.  I've been sewing up a storm getting Etsy orders made and out the door.  I still have 5-6 cases left to make, so the busy won't stop anytime soon.  :)  Luckily, they don't take a long time and people are patient. (I say patient because at this point, my orders all came around the same time, but the wait has turned into a couple weeks instead of a couple days because of all the orders.)

Last night I took a break from the sewing and got some work done on my knitting.  Evie's sweater isn't getting done before Spring arrives, so I've placed it in hibernation.  There are a lot of other things I want to do at the moment and this project was added after the fact, more of a spur of the moment type project.  So I'm not officially counting it towards my WIP pile.

And Squishy's poor's been neglected again.  Not for lack of wanting to knit it, but more for lack of time.  Between being sick and the sewing and my projects for the Easter swap, it's just not getting much love.  I still want to get back to it sooner rather than later, but it may be a project that I work on, but don't commit to for 100% of the time because I know that I'll get bored of that seed stitch.  So still on the needles, still in need of a lot of attention, but I'm trying to ease up on feeling frantic about getting it done.

I have secret knitting I've been working on.  I restarted it 3 times before I finally got it right.  By then, I wasn't much in the mood to work on it.  Last night it finally got some much needed attention and I should be able to finish it up tonight.  Then I have one more secret project to knit on Thursday.  I should be able to share more details after that.  :)  I do just want to say that I'm using Malabrigo Rasta for my current WIP and it is awesome!  It's so soft and squishy.  I love the bulky feel and I think it's the perfect yarn for the project.

Since I don't have any pictures to share with you, I thought I would tell you some of the things I'd like to be knitting soon.  My sister requested some knit items for a friend of hers due in June.  Her friend really likes frogs (or perhaps the nursery is going to be frogs?) and so I'm making a frog hat, the frog binky clip, and the elephant binky clip.  Originally, she asked for a frog toy too, but that's not on the current list.  The only requirement for the frog hat is that the frog must wear a bow to indicate the baby is a girl. :)  I've got a while to knit these, so it's not urgent, but I've been thinking about it recently and may add it to my project page soon.  I've got some Tahki Cotten Classic leftover from items I knit for a friend's baby and it should be nice and cool for the warmer climate.

There are loads of people I know who are expecting and I'd love to knit something for everyone.  If only there were more hours in the day!!  I have a couple projects in mind I've been wanting to knit soon, I just need to find the time.  I've got patterns picked out, and I probably even have the yarn in my stash for them all.  Once I get through my Etsy orders, I'll get a move on those.  :)

So I guess that wasn't really specific about what I'm thinking, aside from what my sister asked for. :)  That's okay, it'll give me something to share with you all in the future!

I hope everyone is having a great week.  I know I've been enjoying "warmer" weather this week (high 30s, low 40s) and I can't wait for the real Spring weather to hit. :)

What's on your needles this week?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Favorites 3/25: Friends

I'm sorry but I don't really have any photos for you today.  Today's Friday Favorites is a little bit different in that I don't have an object to show you.  Instead I thought I'd share something a little more personal.

Today's topic of discussion is friends.  There are so many things that apply to this simple word I can't begin to cover them all today, but I thought I'd share just a few.

We live in a small community, at least 30 minutes driving distance from our nearest friends.  Life gets busy or we forget and so we don't often get to visit or make plans with those who are close to us.  Mr. Man and I were talking about how so many of our friends live a good distance away.  It's not like in college when they were in the same town (or perhaps even the same apartment!).  So for me, one thing I value is visits and time with those friends.  Lunch or supper out with a girlfriend or an afternoon spent at our friends' house is refreshing and a good reminder that we're not just parents, but young people who like to get out and do things!

This weekend we have a couple of our really close friends coming to visit.  I went to high school and was friends with L and Mr. Man went to school and was friends with J.  Funny how that works out sometimes, right?  They just had a baby back in October so he's right about 5 months old.  I can't wait to see how much he's grown!  We're planning on having supper together and just catching up.  I really wish we lived closer!

Then in a couple weeks, we're going to another friend's house for the day.  Squishy will stay with one of our parents, probably and we get a little breather.  What's nice is that most of our friends are at the "family" stage in life.  They are married and have kids or want kids.  They understand how life can sometimes get away from us.  Mr. Man's friend, J (different from the above mentioned J) will be back from Indiana for a few days and he and his wife, L (different from L above!) will be joining us.  Mr. Man and J were childhood friends and always enjoy getting together.  They have 4 beautiful children who have just gotten so big!  There will be more people there than just us 4, but it will be especially nice for us to spend time with them, seeing as how they live so much further away!

You know that friend you had when you were little?  And perhaps you don't get to see them much now, but when you do it's like you never lost any time between?  I have a friend like that.  We became attached at the hip in the 2nd grade and shared so many interests.  I only get to see Iz every few months and I wish it were more (she's only 30 minutes away!) but time together is so much fun.  There is not enough time in a day to exhaust our conversation.  The visits always end too soon, but it's nice to know that our friendship can withstand all the time and distance.  She's a friend I'll never outgrow and I hope that when I'm 75 and set in my ways (ha, like I'm not already!), she'll still be around and we'll still be able to pick up where we left off from the last visit.

Finally, I thought there were a few other friends that deserved some attention.  Some people may find it strange, but I don't care.  Ever since I started knitting and perusing Ravelry, I've met so many wonderful women and made so many great friends.  No, I don't see them weekly or monthly.  I may never meet them in person.  But I talk to them at least once a day if not more, and I value them as friends.   We meet, knowing we have knitting in common, and then realize there are other things that make us feel close to one another.  These people are spread out all over the country, including the United States, Canada, Ireland and Australia.  It would be amazing if we all lived closer, but instead we settle for chatting together online.  Several of these ladies have blogs that I read daily, and it's like a glimpse into their lives.      We share stories of all kinds and the generosity I've seen from these ladies is overwhelming.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, from all over the world.  It's easy to take your friends for granted, so I thought today would be a nice way to remind myself how much they mean to me.  :)

What about you, Readers?  Do you have friends close by?  What do you do when you get together?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday 3/23

So, I must admit, my list of knitting WIPs have taken a backseat to other things.  I really want to get Squishy's Bathrobe done, but I can't seem to get motivated (or find the time...).  Evie's Sweater will have to wait until I have more time.  The weather is warming up and it's not necessary for her anymore.  I meant to finish some of these things over break, but when you don't feel good, knitting just isn't as appealing.

I have some swap things in the works.  No pictures to show for it, though.  One project can't get started until I get the pattern and the other just hasn't gotten the attention it deserves.

What have I been working on you ask?  Cases.  And cases and cases.  For whatever reason, my Etsy shop is on fire with requests.  (That's not a bad thing, but I'm a one-woman-show who only moves so quickly!)  I took down the custom case listing for the time being so I could catch up on orders.

I finished a case last week but the customer isn't home so it won't be mailed until I hear from her that she's back.  I'll finish another tonight.
Then I'll be making one from these fabrics,
and another from these fabrics.  These birds and birdcages really are my favorite.  I was planning to keep the fabric set aside for myself but I've already got a large stack of fabric with my name on it...I decided to let go of these.  (If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see that some of the birdcages have brightly-colored birds in it!)
After those 3 are done, I have a customer sending me fabric.  I can't wait to see it, it sounds interesting and vintage.  She wants me to make her 3 separate cases!

Needless to say, it keeps me busy.  So for the time being, the extra time on my lunch hour, and any time before little man goes to sleep can be allocated to knitting.  Then, once Squishy is in bed, I move down to my "sewing corner" until it's time to wrap-up for the night.

Awhile back someone asked if I'd be willing to sell my pattern for the needle cases.  And every time I think of it, I have to smile because I don't work from patterns for these cases.  Yes, I have measurements and sketches, but at this point, I've done it so many times I hardly even think about it anymore.  And to write it out in a pattern is just too much work.  If it's something I've come up with myself, I really prefer to work without the constraints of a pattern. :)  That way any mistakes are really just turned into creative solutions!

So, what's on your needles, hook or sewing table this week?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Well, spring break is officially over and it's time to get back to work.  I really could have used another couple of days of break to really appreciate the routine of work.

We had a good second-half of the week. Once I started feeling better, it was easier for all of us to be in a better mood, especially since we got a chance to get outside and enjoy the nice weather.  We took Squishy for a short walk around the neighborhood on Wednesday, which he enjoyed because he got to run and splash through all the puddles.  See the green galoshes?  Those were his birthday present from Mr. Man and I.  I have to admit, though, I got the idea from Mom - so it was a stolen idea.  But a good one!! :)  He loves wearing these things and we have a really hard time getting him to take them off.
I also have to mention that the hat Squishy's wearing is his Apple Hat from Debby. He loves wearing it and it looked so great with his green boots!
We also got a chance to visit Grandma in Waterloo, and NaMa (Grandma - my mom) and PaPa this week. Squishy loves seeing his grandparents.  We even got a garage door opener and outlet installed thanks to Mr. Man's aunt and uncle.  :)

So overall, the week was okay.

I've been trying to knit a project for the Easter swap on the IB Forums.  Unfortunately, it's not going so well.  I've frogged twice and haven't had a chance to start it that 3rd time yet.  Each time it was my fault, not the pattern, but it's hard not to feel defeated when it should be simple and quick, ya know?

I've also been really busy keeping track of all my Etsy orders.  Someone lit a fire under someone's rear-end because all of a sudden I've had a wave of orders and interested buyers in my needle cases. I really enjoy making them and seeing the cases come together, but it wasn't expected.  Now I'm trying to plan out my time and figure out when each case will be complete.  I have a few people sending me fabric, so that always puts a delay on things.  It's nice to see interest in my work, though.

This week I may do my sewing while listening/watching the podcasts I *try* to keep up-to-date on.  I meant to catch up this last week, but it didn't happen.  So now I'm behind.  I can't wait to see Laura and Leslie (of The KnitGirllls) in the new craft room.  And I see there are 2 new His & Hers podcasts I haven't watched.  Among all the other video podcasts I want to watch, but haven't caught up with real time yet, so I'm taking my time on those.

What's on your plate this week?  Anything special?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Turn!

Last weekend I was surprised with my very own Itty Bitty swap package for the latest swap.  I was heading to my mom's house, but turned right around so I could open it up and quickly examine all the goodies. :)

The wonderful & talented, Debby (knittingrandma), of Useful Hands & Heart had gotten my name. :)  I had Debby's name for the Teddy Bear Picnic swap and I had so much fun putting her packages together.  She certainly didn't disappoint me!  I had no idea when I opened the box it would contain so much stuff!

I know, I know.  Enough of the talking and on to the showing, right? So we'll start with the knits.  Debby did a fantastic job with the apple knits required for the swap.  I love the Apple Hat, knit with Dream in Color Smooshy/Classy in a green color.  She did a really neat wrap technique for the stem, which makes it fun to pull the hat off Squishy's head!  She was concerned about size, but it's perfect for little man.  He loves to wear it and gladly pulls it on and down over his ears when it's time to go outside.  I love seeing my little boy in handknit hats!

The Apple Washcloth was knit in a squishy red yarn that makes me want to pet it all day.  The apple from Finger Foods is green and has a variegated purple "core," which is a lot of fun.  Squishy was quick to latch on to this toy and carry it off to play.  I also received my very own apple tape measure!  I loved the one I made for Jill and was sad to see it go.  It really brightened my day to see one in my package!  This is already in a notions bag ready to be used.
I think I'll move on to the other knitterly things.  First, Squishy and I got a new book.  I say we both got the book because it's two-fold.  The book is called "Shall I Knit You a Hat? A Christmas Yarn" and is a children's book.  But there's a pattern at the end to knit your own little hat!  It'll be fun to share this with Squishy because he really loves books.
I also receive the cutest stitch markers, ever!  I love getting unique stitch markers in my swap packages. I usually use ones I've received before I use markers I've bought myself!  These are green (fitting nicely with the apple theme) and have plump little sheep on them.  They're terrific!
Debby did her homework and did some nice stalking (yes, there is such a thing).  She included the Pom-Tree which Susan B. Anderson has mentioned on several occasions.  I've always wanted to try this but the time has never been right to purchase one.  Now I have it and it makes me want to make a bunch of pom-poms - for no reason other than to use the tree!  :)

The last of the knit goodies included 4 skeins of yarn!  Yes, four!  There were 2 skeins of Crystal Palace Yarn Mini Mochi in a purple/blue/green colorway, 1 skein of Rown Handknit in Cotton in blue and 1 skein of 100% Alpaca from a local sheep farm (Stone Castle Fiber Mill, I believe) in Teal.  It's all so soft and squishy and wonderful.  I spent a lot of time fondling yarn this weekend! :)
But wait, there's more!  The apple-y goodness didn't stop there.  Included in my parcel was a handful of caramel apple suckers (that I love but never buy - they'll be nice, sweet treat), and some Lindt Dark Chocolate.  She wanted to send apple cake, but circumstances didn't allow it.  That's okay, I appreciate the thought!!  I also got handcrafted soap in the Apple Orchard scent, along with a green apple scented candle (I know the perfect place for this!).  Do you see how spoiled I got, yet?

Debby included 3 beautiful glass apple dishes with a flower pattern in the middle.  This are lovely and remind me of my grandmother. :)
And finally, I got a little more handcrafted goodness from Debby with 4 apple placemats!  These are terrific because my collection of placemats is very limited. These will see a lot of use!
So, Debby, thank you so much!  It was all so thoughtful and wonderful.  I can't wait to use it all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Tiny Bit More for Charity

When I was knitting a few hats for the February Charity KAL on the Itty Bitty Forums, one of the hats that I made came out large (in my opinion).  So I decided to hold that hat back and send it in for the March Charity KAL.

The March KAL is for the Good Samaritan Hospital Antepartum Unit in San Jose, California. The antepartum unit is where moms who have lost their babies (either due to extremely early pre-term labor or stillbirths at any time up to full-term) are cared for.  The hats are used for tiny, tiny babies, and serve as mementos for the family after their child has passed.

The hospital also has a NICU where they can use hats 0-3 months in size (they take other sizes, but the coordinator for the swap said they need the 0-3 month size the most).  Because this hat is on the larger side, I thought it fitting to send to this charity.

I knit the Very Basic Baby Beanie pattern.  I chose to knit in stripes because I hadn't done so in a while.  The hat is knit with Caron Simply Soft in Limelight and Blue Mint. It's supposed to be 2" of ribbing, then stockinette stitch for the remainder of the hat.  My hat has about 2 1/2" of ribbing, I think.
The stripe pattern is 8 rows blue, 8 rows green, 6 blue, 6 green, 4 blue, 4 green, 2 blue, 2 green.  Then, the crown decreases are all in blue.  This happened to work out to almost exactly 5.25" as called for in the pattern.  The idea was to knit the ribbing on US 5 needles, then switch to US 7 for the stockinette.  Whoops, I forgot.  Until I was halfway through the hat.  So it's all knit on US 5 needles.
I think it's a cute little hat and I'm glad I can contribute to another charity.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's In a Name?

I've decided I'm tired of using initials to refer to members of my family.  So many times I forget and have to  go back and fix it.  That, and a couple people in my family share the same first letter, which can complicate things.

To make it simple and because they aren't mentioned too frequently, I'll refer to my siblings simply as Brother & Sis.  Easy enough, right?  Mom will stay as Mom, as Dad will stay as Dad.  Again, simple.

Those of you who already refer to members of your family by alternate names are so creative.  I need some of what you're drinking because I'm having a really hard time thinking of anything that doesn't sound silly or stupid.  I think I've settled on Mr. Man for my husband.  My son is more difficult, but I think I'll take a page from my pregnancy and call him Squishy.  That was the nickname Sis gave him before he was born.  And for C, my stepdad, I'll take my cues from Squishy and call him Papa (grandpa).

So there you have it.  Hopefully, this will feel like it flows a bit more than it has in the past.  :)

Also, I've not been feeling well for the past few days and finally got to the doctor today.  I think you all understand this probably means a lack of posting in the coming week.  At the moment, I'm not planning on WIP Wednesday or Friday Favorites, but will hopefully feel better and resume a normal blogging schedule next week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Favorites 3/11: Random Knits

I'm going to attempt to make this short - I have a lot to do today.  Today's Friday Favorites comes across a bit random.  In fact, the only thing they all have in common is that they are in my growing favorites pile. I hope you all enjoy!

Did any of you ever read Calvin & Hobbes comics when you were little?  I did.  My aunt loved the comic and so she had a large collection of all the Calvin & Hobbes comics in those handy-dandy collection books.  We went to her place a lot, so, loving to read, I read them a lot.  Seeing this pattern brought back a little of that nostalgia. :)  This is a free crochet pattern for the loveable Hobbes.

Lately I've had a thing for brioche.  I even bought the book, Knitting Brioche, a few weeks back.  Why does it intrigue me so?  I don't know.  But I'm dying to learn.  There are a few things I'd like to accomplish first, so it'll have to wait, but it's one of my goals this year to learn.  I like this hat, with the flaps and ties.  The fact that brioche is reversible is awesome because you get two hats for the price of one!

From Susan's new book, Spud & Chloe at the Farm, this brown cow has captured my heart. If you search Ravelry for cow patterns, of any sort, there's quite a few that come up.  But do you see the expression on his face?  :)  Love it! :)  I can't wait for Susan's book to arrive.  I pre-ordered the book awhile back and it should be arriving very, very soon!  Now...if only she would design a horse pattern, I'd be the happiest knitter ever! :) 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Regina General Hospital’s Neonatal Unit

As I mentioned on my last WIP Wednesday, I wanted to finish a few charity hats to send to Jill, for her month's charity KAL.  February's charity was the Regina General Hospital's Neonatal Unit.  I thought today would be a good time to share with you the finished hats and the patterns I used.

My first hat was Little Boy Blue Ribbed Hat.  The recipe for the hat is simple, a simple 2x2 rib pattern.  I probably could have figured out the math of the decreases on my own, but it's so much simpler to read it from someone else's pattern.  This is a free pattern offered on Ravelry and goes by so quickly.  I picked out 100% acrylic yarn, as per the norm for many charity donations.  The yarn for this hat is Caron Simply Soft Brights in Blue Mint.   I don't mind pastels for babies, but I just feel like vibrant rich colors are terrific.  Why not use bold colors so adorn your baby's head? :)

I love the way this hat turned out.  It's teeny tiny cute.  Knit in a newborn size, there is still a lot of flexibility because of the ribbing, so it could easily fit an older child, or be appropriate for a preemie.

The second hat I knit was Swirl Hat.  This pattern calls for fingering weight yarn.  I don't have much of that on hand and I wasn't going to buy more when I had three 315yd skeins of worsted weight acrylic to work with.  So using the recommended needle size (US 3), I cast on 64 stitches.  This is 8 stitches fewer than the preemie size given in the pattern.  But using the measurements and numbers the pattern gives, I modified the sizing and stitch count very easily.  Hopefully this modification has yielded me a hat this is somewhere between preemie and newborn.
I did struggle with this hat, and it wasn't the fault of the pattern.  My stitch count and pattern was off and twice I had to tink back.  There's a small mistake on the crown shaping, where a I missed knitting into a yarn over, but after the hat was finished, I was able to go back and close the hole - sort of.  I don't think anyone will notice.
I really enjoy the swirl ribbing on this hat.  I know the pattern can be for boys and girls, but I just think this adds a little more feminine touch than your basic ribbing.  This was knit with Caron Simply Soft Brights in Watermelon.  (Wow, this is pink!)
Now would be a good time to mention that all the hats were made from Caron Simply Soft Brights using 3 different colors: Limelight (green), Blue Mint (blue) and Watermelon (pink).  I chose these colors because they were bright and cheerful and reminded me of spring when the color comes back. We need some color after the gray winter days.
The final pattern I used was Preemie Hats for Charity by Carissa Browning.  This pattern actually comes with 5 variations on a hat.  The versions include eyelets, hearts, diamonds, stripes, and ribbed.  Again, because I'm only using worsted weight, I figured these would come out big, so I modified the stitch count.  I wanted to knit all 5, but didn't have time, so I've only got 2.

First, I knit the the eyelet hat.  I cast on 64 stitches because it starts with 6 rows of 2x2 ribbing, so I needed multiples of either 4 or 8.  After I finished the ribbing and started the main body of the hat, I included an extra 2 stitch increases (2 kfb stitches), so that there would be 66 stitches.  I did this because when you get to the crown decreases, the decreases are done in multiples of 6. (The original cast-on number was for 72 sts.)  

I really like how this hat came out.  I picked green because I thought, 2 pink, 1 green, 1 blue...I've got 2 hats for each gender.  Then DH & Mom both told me the green was sort of a girly color.  So be it.  The eyelet pattern is a bit more feminine as well.  But in the end, it's the nurses at the hospitals that will be picking the hats for the babies and I'm sure the parents will appreciate whichever hat they receive.
The second hat from this set was the hearts pattern.  I couldn't resist the little hearts ringing this hat.  It's not immediately noticeable (in my opinion), but if you're close up, you can see the hearts right above the ribbing.  Again, I cast on few stitches to accommodate the heavier yarn. 
Once I got past the hearts, this hat went super quick because it was all stockinette stitch.  This hat screams girly, in pretty much any way possible.  The hearts on their own could be subtle, but when paired with this hot pink, it's sort of like a light flashing over your head saying, "I'm a girl, I'm a girl!"

I really enjoyed making these little hats and I like knowing they are going to a good cause.  They really don't take long at all.  I knit up 5 hats in a week.  So I encourage you all, if you have a little time to spare, to consider picking up your needles or hook and knitting, or crocheting, something for a local charity or hospital. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday 3/9

I don't have a lot of progress on my WIPs to show you, so no pictures today.  But only because I've been knitting tiny hats that are so quick to finish!

So what's on my needles this week, you ask?  Only 2 projects.  The first is Evie's sweater.  It's a great pattern, I think.  I've gotten through the shoulder increases and was planning to work through the leg openings last night but I hit a snag.  I was confused by the instructions on what stitches to put on a holder, etc. So I sent a message to the designer and hopefully I'll hear back from her soon.  Once I get that figured out, I can keep plugging away.

I think the collar is going to be a little snug/stiff because of the size needles it was knit on.  The body is also looking a bit large for Evie.  I tried it on her last night, after which she ran and hid under the couch.  Hopefully she'll like wearing it when it's finished!  I know part of the issue in the sizing is because I used a worsted weight yarn instead of a lighter weight.

The other project is X's Bathrobe.  It's still on the list because it's sitting in my WIP bag.  Since I'm now waiting on further instruction for Evie's sweater, and all the charity hats are done, this project will be getting more attention.  I got about 6 rows in last night.  That was okay progress, but I'd like to see it go a little faster.

In other news, my Etsy shop is back from vacation.  Now that I have other life-obligations out of the way, I can dedicate time to sewing again. I've already got a few cases in the works so I know that will keep me busy.  My machine has been looking rather lonely and my sewing table has been piled on in the last few weeks.  Time to do some cleaning and reorganizing to get back in the groove!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Apple Tape Measure

For the fourth and final required project for the swap, I chose to use the pattern Apple or Orange Tape Measure by Amalia Samios. Jill said that she loves tape measures, so what's better than an apple one?  Since the finger puppet was red and the hat was red, I made the tape measure green.

At first, I had a hard time deciding if it was going to work.  Each half (circle) is knit separately and then seamed together.  After the first half was finished, I wasn't convinced it was big enough.  I tried casting on more stitches following the rhythm of the pattern and making a larger circle but this failed miserably.  It was ruffly and wavy. So I knit a third half the same as the first.
To seam together, I laid the wrong sides together and seamed, without the tape measure inside.  I tried it initially with the tape measure, but it was awkward.  When I was far enough that I almost couldn't fit the tape measure in, I inserted it into the pocket and closed up the remaining stitches.  This worked really well. Actually, I was surprised it worked at all.  I was prepared to be frustrated.

I love that the tape measure pulls out by the stem & leaf.  So clever!  I think more people should design patterns to cover tape measures.
Another item to note: When you knit the halves, you are actually knitting a half circle that has a natural inclination to curl itself into a circle.  You have to seam the edge together to officially make it a circle.  When doing this, the pattern says to stop something like 1/2" from the edge of the circle.  You then line up this point on both halves.  If you don't stop seaming at this point, your tape measure won't retract when you ask it to.  Trust me, I'm talking from personal experience.  I had to rip back my seaming job so it would work.

My only wish is that the stitches didn't stretch out so much.  You can see through them if you're really looking.  Not huge, but I can't help but obsess about things like that.

These would be really fun grab bag gifts - the tape measures themselves are about 99 cents to maybe $1.50 (USD).   It takes a very minimal amount of yarn so any stash yarn would do.  What a fun present for a knitter (or crocheter or sewer or crafter of any kind) in your life!  Easily finished in a couple hours. :)  And another item I had a hard time letting go of.... Enjoy any future measuring, Jill!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Finger Foods: Apple

My third knit project for the swap was the apple from Finger Foods.  Since I'd already made the apple once before (for my own Finger Foods set from the Teddy Bear Picnic swap), I had a better of idea of the construction of the apple.  These finger puppets are really fun and X has had a lot of fun playing with them.  Little kids AND adults love putting these on their fingers!

For this project, I was planning on copying Raili (Fairytale Knits) and making the "puppet" portion of the apple in crazy colored sock yarn.  But...I didn't have any.  So I used Cascade Fixation in Red and Sage (for the leaf), and Universal Yarn Pace in Chocolate for the puppet.  This yarn I got from Raili in the Teddy Bear Picnic swap.  It's so handy and I appreciate it so much when I get yarn in swaps!  I love having great knitterly friends!
My biggest struggle with these toys is how to stuff them.  The first time, I tried filling the toy around the finger puppet portion, wrapping the fiberfill around the finger.  This time I tried stuffing the toy and pushing the finger puppet in afterwards.  I'm not convinced either is the best way.  How did the rest of you do it?  I did a lot of rolling in-between my hands to get a consistent stuffing throughout the apple.
The Fixation is an interesting yarn.  It's sproingy (I know that's not a real word but it's expresses my thoughts on the yarn better than any other) so the stitch definition isn't uniform.  While pulling the thread through your fingers, it will stretch because of the elastic contained within it, and when released it will spring back.  So even if you think you're pulling it through consistently, you're probably not.  The yarn is soft and provides a pretty completed texture, but it can be frustrating when it leaves loose stitches.  And I don't know about anyone else but I don't block my toys. :) The only other problem for me is that the red is so hard to photograph.  It's bright enough that all my photos come out a bit blurry or fuzzy, like the camera can't decide where to focus.
I think the fruits from this pattern would also be fantastic in a slight semi-solid with subtle color shifts.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - both kids and adults love this toy! :) 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Green Apple Washcloth

Today I'm going to share with you the Apple Washcloth by Susan B. Anderson.   

The majority of the apple was easily finished in one night, with the stem, leaf and edging finished on the second night.  As with many of my FOs, it only took so long because I didn't have the ability to knit on it all night, or it was really close to bedtime.  I can't remember which it was this time. 
The green is KnitPicks Comfy Worsted in Honey Dew and the stem in Berroco Vintage in Chocolate.  The dark green edging and leaf are made from Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Cypress.
I chose to accentuate the slip-stitch crocheted edging with a different color just to give it a little pop.  I really like how it turned out!

And just so you can see the backside (because I love all angles of projects), here's what the other side looks like. Because this is garter stitch it is incredibly quick!
I really should knit myself some washcloths...our dogs have gotten ahold of some of ours and they  now need replacing.  I got a few from Raili (FairyTale Knits) for the Teddy Bear Picnic swap.  They're so lovely I have a hard time using them - I want to keep them perfect forever. :)   In fact, I squirrel them away so that only I can use them. :)  (Oops, now you all know my secret!)

Tell me, many of you use knit or crocheted dishcloths/washcloths?