Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Love Your Library, vol. 24



The best part of toe-up socks (other than the obvious: no grafting!) is that after I finish the heel, the leg portion just flies. Love that! My Leyburn socks are thisclose to being done! I'm on the last lattice quilt pattern repeat, then just the ribbing and a stretchy bind off. Weee! Once these are finished, I'll probably cast on some hat patterns from my library to work on the big charity hat knitting project I mentioned last week. That'll be fun! May your September be a productive one!



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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

crossing the finish line!



I'm slowly but surely making progress on this month's goal of "clearing the decks" and it feels good. In the past two weeks I finished my fingering weight, colorwork city lights beanie, two pairs of fingerless mitts, two baby blanket squares, and frogged my varjo (I love the color combination in photos but not in real life) and the brown charity scarf (and turned around and knit five charity hats!). So it's been a productive period for me! My next priorities are the cowls and socks you see on my list. We'll see after that! Now, some closer looks at my finishes ...

Pattern: city lights beanie, a freebie by Brandy at Stitched up in Toronto! (link to my Rav project page)
Yarn: Lemonade Shop (colorway: sweet sweet candy), and contrast colors in MadTosh unicorn tail colors Pop Rocks and Button Jar Blue)
Needles: size 3
Mods: None! But made an extra large pom pom!


And now the mitts! Both had languished in their respective project bags since early this year ...

This is my second pair of "rothko mitts" from the Project Rothko collaboration between designer Ann Weaver, indie dyer Hazel Knits, and the Washington D.C. yarn shop fibrespace. I realized after making the first pair of mitts I had plenty left over for a second pair and went for it. This pattern has become my go to way to use up sock yarn scraps--fun, fast, and fits perfectly! (project originally started in April)


And this is my second pair of garter stitch mitts using Ysolda Teague's free pattern. Same yarn, same needles, same everything as last time! But now I can happily say that this skein of Socks That Rock in Heavyweight is all.used.up. Wahoo! (project originally started in February) Someday I may get to the point where all the projects I start are finished within the same calendar year ... snickers.... a girl can dream, right?

Today I'm linking up with Tammy's Stitch-Along Wednesday, Ginny for Yarn Along, and Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Love Your Library, vol. 23

Phew, the start of fall semester always manages to throw me for a blogging loop! You'd think I'd be prepared for this, since it happens every year--oh well!


Carpool has allowed me to plug away on my Leyburn socks. Not long until I reach the heel on my second sock now!


And I pulled out an oldie but goodie, my free azalea hat pattern, this past week to kick off some charity knitting I'll be doing all fall long. My local knitting guild has committed to knitting hats and cold weather accessories for temporarily displaced/homeless students in our local school district. It's a project I'm really excited about, and am happy to quickly have five hats to add to the count. We'll need over 100, and will take any help we can get--so let me know if you'd like to contribute to our cause! The pink hats were made with one skein each of Lion Brand Hometown USA in Phoenix Azalea, and I squeaked three hats out of two skeins of Lion Brand Thick and Quick in the Sequoia colorway. To add some interest I alternated two rows of stockinette with one row of garter, and started the crown decreases after I knit seven garter stitch ridges.


 How's your Love Your Library challenge going this month??


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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

framed earring display tutorial



So in addition to all my sewing and knitting this summer, I've had another goal that I've been feverishly working on: organizing the house. Part of it was motivated by necessity (e.g. I came back  from our big road trip out west with my late grandmother's china which needed a place in my kitchen display cabinet, hence forcing a purge/reorg there), part of it was things just driving me crazy. My jewelry organization tutorial is the result of the latter! I had been using two jewelry stands from Pottery Barn for at least eight years now, and they worked fine but not great. Add a little girl who wanted to "admire mama's sparklies" and it became a tangled mess! Every single time I looked at it it just bugged me, and this summer I finally decided to do something about it. One thing that always bothered me about the old jewelry stands was that pin back earrings got lost in the shuffle, since they rested in the trays. And I always seemed to not notice everything I had. So that was the first thing I wanted to correct: I wanted everything visible, so I could see my collection at a glance. I also wanted something that would look pleasing on the wall, so I knew I wanted something framed.


Supplies (for both projects):
  • 11 x 15 " open wood frame (Hobby Lobby)
  • 12 x 12 " burlap covered frame (only $4.97 at Walmart!)
  • one can of spray paint that coordinates with your home decor
  • one 12 x 12 " cork board tile for your pinback earring board
  • a package of screen door/window repair material (Lowe's)
  • staple gun
  • kitchen shears

How to Make Your Dangly Earring Display

Step one: cut a rectangle of screen door material that is approximately two inches or so larger than the actual opening of your open frame. I was able to easily cut my screen door material with good kitchen scissors. Be careful though: the cut edge of this material is sharp!


Step two: using your staple gun, carefully begin stapling the wire screen door mesh to the back of the frame. I started on one side, and then pulled tight to make the mesh taut when stapling the opposite side.

What your finished staple job will look like:


Step three: using your kitchen shears, trim off the excess wire screen door material.



Step four: start arranging your dangly earrings in a way that appeals to you!


Ta da!

How to Make Your Pinback Earring Display

Step one: unwrap the burlap off of your burlap covered frame. (holy cow, this was the biggest bang for my buck of the entire project--$5 for a 12 x 12 frame, plus the burlap material to cover the cork board!)


Step two: spray paint the frame your desired color and allow to dry fully.


Step three: Do an initial trim of the cork board tile to fit the interior opening of your frame. (but don't go too crazy trimming, you'll fine tune your fit in the next step. Gently wrap the burlap material around your cork board tile, but don't adhere it yet. You'll need to easily access the tile to do some trimming in the next step.

Step four: Wiggle your burlap-wrapped cork tile into the frame and test the fit. If you have sections that bow out from being too long, pull everything out and carefully shave off some more cork board to achieve a better fit. (this is honestly the trickiest part of this project)


Step five: Once you are happy with the fit, adhere the burlap to the back of the cork board tile. I just folded the excess material and pinned it, but you could use a spray adhesive for a neater finish. Now you're all set to add your earrings! (I put the earring backs in a tray in my jewelry box on another dresser)


 Ta da!


For those of you who are super observant and noticed the necklaces in the "before" picture, here's what I did to better store them. A shadow box! This one has a magnetized door, and I found it at Hobby Lobby (just wait for a 50% off sale or take one of their great coupons!). Needless to say, these display boards make me soooo much happier than my previous storage solution!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

working toward finishes


As I mentioned in yesterday's Love Your Library post, I really want to "clear the decks" and finish a bunch of old WIPs this month. These are the first I'm tackling: my leyburn socks and Riverbank III.  They're both fun, fast knits and with school starting here and me returning to the carpool lane, I'll have plenty of consistent knitting time again!


And I'm still sewing, of course! This is the first batch of placemats. I'm using a beautiful set of fat quarters that coordinate, so these will be mis-matchy with none of the prints repeated. I started with the fat quarters since I discovered that they were the perfect placemat-ish size (I will be trimming them down quite a bit). After this set I have some fun fall themed prints that will make great seasonal placemats to add to my collection!


Today I'm linking up with Tammy's Stitch-Along Wednesday, Ginny for Yarn Along, and Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Love Your Library, vol. 22

After all the purging and cleaning and organization I've done this summer, I'm feeling a massive urge now to "clear the decks" knitting wise. Every time I log into my Ravelry account, the number of works in progress taunts me.


Count 'em ... yeah that's 16 projects in progress, and I can think of at least one more that never made it into Ravelry somehow ... sigh. Only a small fraction of these count for the Love Your Library challenge, but that's okay. Right now the projects I'm dreaming of and want to make out of my current library of patterns are competing with these unfinished ones, so finishing at least of portion of these will be such a relief! Plus, I really would like a lot of these finished projects! A handful I know already I will frog, and a few I have no real urgency to finish. But many of these are "low hanging fruit" that will feel so good to knock out! Hope your challenge has been going well so far this month!



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Friday, August 7, 2015

FO Friday: Another cowl!


Yeah, I know ... I'm cowl crazy! I need another cowl like I need a hole in my head, but I just can't stop knitting them ... this is my finished Twining cowl test knit. I can't say enough good things about this pattern--the designer wrote a flawless pattern that's easy to follow, and has details that make the knitting easier and intuitive (like matching a knit one below detail on a knitting round, and a purl one below on a purling round). Love that! And it's reversible. This is my first real reversible knit, and it was super fun!


Pattern: twining cowl (link to my Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Western Sky Knits Willow DK (colorway: Lilacs)
Needles: size 5 Knit Picks Caspian interchangeables
Mods: Used size 5 needles throughout instead of switching to larger needles.


And now I'm making speedy progress on the other test knit on my needles, Brandy's city lights beanie. I only have four more "arrows" to go!