Sunday, November 27, 2005

draft stoppers

my second sewing project is done! we needed three draft stoppers for the crawlspace doors in our bedroom, which also happens to be the attic. very drafty! so i made these.

they were very inexpensive to make: i used an old bedspread i bought at a thrift store for $5 and i bought a big bag of sand for less than $5 at strosnider's hardware store. after i machine-sewed the bedspread into tubes, i filled some empty newspaper bags about halfway full with sand, squeezed all the air out of the bag and tied it at the top. by doing this, the sand molds nicely to the inside of the sewn tube. i filled each draft stopper with several of these sand bags and used fabric scraps to nicely fill out each end before hand-sewing it shut. one thing i really like about these is that nothing was wasted in making them -- the scraps left over from cutting out the fabric went into filling out the ends of the draft stoppers.

strosnider's was selling pre-made draft stoppers for $13 each and they weren't as good as these -- they were only filled with pillow stuffing. for less than $10 i made three much better ones, and i still have a lot of the blue bedspread left for other projects and sand for our front steps when it gets icy. and they didn't take very long to make, just a couple of hours. yay me!

Friday, November 25, 2005

my long striped scarf in action

it's always fun to see one of your creations being put to good use! it's nice to have a handsome model to make your knitting look so good.

cookies 'n creme poncho in progress! (finally)

i finally got started on the poncho for amy, trav's cousin. i spent a lot of time yesterday knitting. the pattern i'm using is from "teen knitting club" -- it's basically a 20 inch by 45 inch rectangle, and then you are supposed to fold it in half and sew up about 2/3 from the end towards the center on one long side, leaving the middle part open as the neck opening. it ends up hanging down on a diagonal off your shoulders.

instead of sewing up part of the long side, i think i'm going to sew on a row of buttons. that way, it can either be worn as a poncho with the buttons buttoned, or if you undo the buttons it can be worn as a wrap. plus, i think the buttons will look nicer than a sewed seam (keeping in mind my poor seaming skills). what do you guys think?

inspired by a fashion show i saw at the dc knit out and crochet, i bought a bunch of different texture yarns in black, taupe, and cream (hence the nickname "cookies 'n creme"), and i'm making up the stripe pattern as i go along. my original plan was to knit horizontal strips on a 36" needle but the size 10 36" needle i bought for this purpose was not working out -- it was knitting WAAAAAAY too tight. after wrestling with it for a while, i gave up and started knitting the short side on a size 11 16" needle. so, in order to make sure the stripes line up when the buttons are closed, i'm going to make the stripe pattern mirror itself from left to right -- clever, huh?

i'm really nervous that she won't like it, because i don't really know her too well. if you recall the origins of this project, trav's family does a "secret santa" thing where you are randomly assigned one person to give a gift to, rather than everyone buy gifts for everyone else. this year, i got amy. this is what i know about her (other than the fact that she is really nice): she is my age, artistic, she wears a lot of black, and she has a pretty "classic but fashionable" sense of style. so i wanted to keep the colors basic and neutral, but snazz it up a bit with some funky textures and irregular width stripes. as far as i can tell, it will suit her. still, i'm worried i'll put all this work into it and she won't like it. i'm considering putting in a note that if she wants to "exchange" it for a custom made poncho, i'd be happy to make her one in any color and style she wants. but maybe i'm just being silly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

seed stitch hat finished!

it's almost 2 in the morning, and my hands are sore from knitting two together, but i finished the seed stitch hat. i'm proud to say that it fits great, despite having "winged it" and refused to follow a pattern.

(by the way, i knitted this on size 10 16in circular needles using two strands of "mutiny" at once. that's why it looks so chunky.)

now i don't have to wash my hair all winter, because i plan on wearing my new pink seed stitch hat all day every day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

finished recycled sari bag and seed stitch hat in progress

i finished the recycled sari bag. while we were in york this weekend, we went to ben franklin crafts store and i found some hot pink fabric scraps to make the lining for only a couple of dollars. (i also found some mission falls cotton on clearance, so i had to violate my moratorium on buying yarn and snatch that up.)

yesterday i sewed up the lining for the bag; for my first attempt at machine sewing i thought it came out really nice. then i hand sewed the lining into the bag and sewed on the handles with sari yarn. i hate doing all of that post-knitting work, but i have to say the finished bag looks impressive. i'm really really proud of it.

here is another "in progress" photo with the bag turned partially inside-out to show the lining.

also, i'm about 1/3 done with a seed stitch hat i'm making for myself. i'm using hand-painted "mutiny" yarn i bought on sale from the black stitch. i really recommend everyone check out this site -- rebecca's hand-painted yarns are really beautiful and so reasonably priced! the mutiny yarn only cost $4 a skein! i'm so happy with the yarn that i forgive rebecca for slipping some hard candies into the package, which led to my dog tearing up the box to get to said candies. i came home one day to find my living room strewn with cardboard, shredded plastic bag pieces, yarn, and three empty chewed-up candy wrappers. but the yarn appears to have survived ok, the dog survived ok, and all's well that ends well!

i'm not following any pattern for this hat, i'm just making it up. there is a "seam" area between the end of each row and the beginning of the next row where there are two knit stitches or two purl stitches next to each other, instead of the usual knit/purl/knit/purl seed stitch. but i figured that this faux seam would look better than a real sewed seam (especially considering my poor seam sewing skills), and i couldn't figure out any other way to make seed stitch hat on circular needles and avoid sewing a seam. we'll see how it comes out.

i worked on the seed stitch hat during my vegan stitch and bitch yesterday. it's a nice portable project for knitting in public. we had a nice time and had some yummy food. if anyone else is in the dc area, you should come knit with us! we meet the first and third sunday of every month at busboys and poets at 3 pm. email me if you want more info, or just show up!

still waiting for my yarn and needles to arrive for the christmas present poncho, and i'm getting stressed! never buy anything from -- they suck and their customer service is nearly non-existent. i re-ordered everything from another website, and hopefully it will be here soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

ribbed legwarmers

i forgot to post about my legwarmers! i made these last spring -- they were my second knitting project ever -- but didn't have a chance to wear them until recently. i thought they were sucky, but i ended up getting a lot of compliments on them.

i made them with lion jiffy thick and quick. and sure enough, they are very thick and were very quick to knit.

the main problem with these legwarmers is that i made them on a 16 inch circular needle, not realizing you can't make a tube smaller than 16 inches on a 16 inch needle! so they are very baggy, which is ok except they tend to slide right off my foot when i walk. i made a temporary repair by weaving in a piece of yarn around the bottom and tying it around my ankle, but when i get a chance i am going to weave in a piece of elastic so i don't have to tie on the yarn and cut it off each time i put on or take off the legwarmers.

i was really surprised at the enthusiastic responses i got when i wore these! one woman even asked me if i sell them.

Monday, November 14, 2005

in progress: recycled sari bag

as promised, here's a photo of my latest project in progress. the knitting is about 40% done. also pictured are the bamboo handles and little lotus charm that will be sewn on. i really like using the recycled rayon sari yarn.

the "pattern" is from stitch 'n bitch, but you basically just knit up a tube on circular needles, sew up the bottom, sew in a simple lining, sew on the handles, sew on a little decorative charm if you want, and that's it.

the fabric lining will be my first "real" sewing machine project. since it won't really be visible, it's a good practice project. i think i can handle sewing some straight lines. any ideas on what color fabric i should get? i'm thinking black.

trav was in san francisco with his dad last weekend and i always have the worst habits when he's away: i stay up way too late, i always forget to eat, when i do i eat terribly... on saturday night i stayed up until 5:30 am knitting!

meanwhile, trav's sister had her baby over the weekend! her name is meghan olivia. i hope little meghan likes the umbilical cord hat i knitted for her.

yesterday, i was in a bookstore and ended up buying myself stitch 'n bitch nation on impulse. there are a lot of cute baby and kids patterns in it -- i'm sure i'll be knitting more things for little meghan. we are going to go to pennsylvania to visit her and the rest of the family next weekend.

the stuff i ordered to make the poncho hasn't come yet, and i'm getting a bit nervous -- only about 6 more weeks until christmas, and i have no idea how long it will take me to knit a poncho. i hope the package comes soon. i bought some buttons for it at michael's craft store, because i decided not to use the coconut husk buttons i brought back from hawaii after all. i decided i want to save them to use on something for myself - is that terrible of me?

Monday, November 07, 2005

"witching hour" craftiness, reconsidered

i changed my mind about my big idea for the baby hat. i can now reveal that my big idea was to embroider the finished hat with a design of my own creation, loosely based on a tee shirt i saw at crafty bastards crafts fair. it was going to be different families drawn in stick figures, as if drawn by a child. the different families would reflect the various possible gender combinations families might have, one would have two daddies and a baby, another would have two mommies and two babies, etc.

several factors played into my decision to scrap the idea, but basically it came down to me sitting there looking at a very nice, finished baby hat and starting to doubt whether the wisest thing to do was risk destroying it with an ambitious design in a technique i had never even tried before. after all, so far this month i don't have a very good record of success with my middle-of-the-night craft ideas. anyway, i rationalized to myself that all that embroidery would make the hat much more fragile, after i had gone out of my way to make it durable and washable for rough-and-tumble baby use. so i brought the finished hat to the baby shower "as is."

it was a very nice shower, by the way. i am not a big fan of typical baby showers, with their silly pregnancy games and conversation that never strays from the subject of babies and baby accessories. but as i suspected, this shower was much more pleasant and down-to-earth than the typical baby shower, and i had a good time catching up with the guests of honor and meeting some of their friends and family. nonetheless, i was reminded of Reason #56 Why I Don't Want Kids: baby stuff! i am always trying to have less stuff, and babies seem to require so much stuff. well, at least middle class american babies do; i'm sure that in many parts of the world babies manage to grow to adulthood without diaper genies and special breastfeeding pillows. but i'm sure i'd want the convenience of such things myself, if i had a baby. and the baby stuff is nothing compared to the legos and tricycles and school notebooks and yu-gi-oh cards and then they want a cell phone and a car... ay ay ay! i'm very happy for my friends who are stoked about motherhood, but better you than me!

in other knitting news, i did some more damage this weekend as my online yarn spending spree continued, but i'm done now. no more yarn for me for a long time. soon, i'll be able to get started on the poncho for trav's cousin; i'm still waiting to receive the yarn and the 36 inch circular needle i ordered for it. i bought the 36 inch needle because i want to make it with horizontal stripes so i needed a way to cast on a lot of stitches. the other project on my horizon is the bamboo handle bag from stitch 'n bitch. i'm going to make it out of my recycled rayon sari yarn, but i want to find the bamboo handles before i start working on it so i know what size to make the bag. any ideas on where to purchase such things?

my poor neglected cotton candy hat project is on hold for now.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

knitting wishes

have you ever wished you could knit while doing something else?

these are my big ones:

* knit and exercise
* knit and drive
* knit while i'm at work/ knit during meetings
* knit while watching a movie with subtitles
* knit and walk the dog

last night i found out that several women in my yoga class knit. a couple of them were knitting while waiting for class to start - great idea! i think knitting is very yogic and it is quite appropriate to make knitting a part of one's yoga practice. my yoga studio even offers workshops on the yoga of knitting. i'd like to take one at some point, but it costs $45 and right now i'd rather spend the money on yarn!

i also found out my yoga teacher kate is a doula, which i did not know before last night. if any dc area folks out there are having a baby, you should seriously consider asking her to be your doula. she's such an awesome person. of course, i highly recommend taking yoga with her too!

oh, and some of my new yarn came already! i can't wait to use it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"witching hour" craftiness

oooh, i have such a good idea for the baby hat i'm making!! i thought of it in the middle of the night last night after i couldn't sleep. i drank too much beer and wine last night at the halloween festivities and it messed up my sleep, but it was worth it because i'm really excited about my new idea!

i can't reveal my baby hat idea here because i know liza (one of smudge's mamas) reads this blog, but i'll just say two things about it: (1) it will require me to learn a new type of needle art that i haven't done before and (2) it was inspired by liza's comment yesterday about gender stereotyping and also by a tee shirt (no, not the dirty dancing one!) i saw at crafty bastards craft fair.

it may or may not be done in time for the shower on saturday, depending on how long this new technique takes me to conquer. but i'll definitely post pics once the mamas have received it.

i just hope this middle-of-the-night craft idea works better than the bat costume for my dog that i thought up in the middle of the night saturday night. it was a cute idea, since she's blind -- get it, blind as a bat? but you couldn't tell what she was supposed to be. it was my first time ever using a sewing machine, so i deserve some slack for that.