Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Monster Butt!

This is a bonus post, and a bonus project that technically didn't use stash yarn. My sister-in-law asked me to make these for her 9 month-old daughter, and how I could I resist?! She bought the yarn (Swish Sport from Knitpicks) and I knitted away using the Das Monster pattern until we got...


So cute I could DIE! I had enough yarn leftover to make some hats, and I wanted to give SIL the most for her money. Thanks to Gemmie for modeling them both!

Now back to your regularly scheduled stash-busting!

Love is in the air!

I haven't blogged at all because, well, I haven't had anything to document! I've been really focusing on sewing lately (also from my stash...maybe I should change the name of this blog to include my fabric obsession, too!). I'm really into making baby stuff--high chair covers, shopping cart covers, burp cloths, quilts, etc. But I digress...

We know several couples getting married this year, and I'm working on gifts for them all. I can't name them here, on the off-chance they read my blog--I don't want to ruin the surprise! I just finished one of the gifts, using the Hemlock Ring pattern by Jared Flood. I love this pattern--it has enough interest to keep me focused, but is easy enough to do while I'm watching TV. I used yarn I bought while we were visiting family in Massachusetts. At the time, my wonderful mother-in-law was battling cancer (a fight she lost shortly after this trip), and I made a trek to The Sheep Shack in Holden with my dear friend Andee. It was so nice to forget the stress for a while and browse the yarn with a good friend. I found this luscious grey Tahki Truffles and knew I could make something fun.

It's an easy, breezy cotton and angora throw, perfect for cool evenings on the porch or when there's a slight chill in the air. It can be used as a lap throw or a table covering, and would look really pretty draped over a couch.

More wedding presents to come, but for now, consider my stash 920 grams lighter!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kitchen Kitsch and a Word about Weight

When someone asks me to make something for them specifically, I take that as a huge compliment. It means they trust your work, they like your work, and they're proud to own it or gift it to someone. I have a few friends and relatives who ask me for stuff on a semi-regular basis. My great-aunt, for instance, commissions me to make baby blankets or quilts as gifts. She sends me some money and I put something together. I just finished sewing this for her to give to a relative on her husband's side.

It's a simple 9-patch quilt, and I appliqued the name on the center panel. I'm bundling it off to my aunt today. Hope the baby likes it! :)

My friend Ray Ray usually asks me for kitchen items. Her grandma has always made kitchen scrubbies and hanging towels for the family and Ray Ray was jonesing for a little taste of home. A year or so ago I made the scrubbies with net fabric. Oh. My. Goodness. That really tears up your hands! No more scrubbies (sorry Ray Ray!). The kitchen towels, though, that I can do! I hadn't seen these in AGES! They seem so old-fashioned and kitschy, but since when is that a bad thing?? After much trial and error I came up with a technique for attaching the yarn to the towel and voila! Five hanging towels, using some Vanna's Choice from the stash. 

I'm not very good at combining fabric and yarn. I don't like the inconsistency in the weights, and the fact that you can't easily get a yarn needle through the fabric is troublesome to me. So, I ended up doing embroidery stitch along the front of the towel, and then crocheting into the embroidery stitches, then flipping the towel over to the back and crocheting into the backside of the embroidery stitches as well. I'm sorry, I didn't take pictures of that (rats! Shoulda thought of that!). But the result is a very sturdy, very neat looking towel. Ray Ray will be thrilled!

Project Stats:
Each towel used 15g yarn x 5 towels = 75g

With that, a word about weight. I'm keeping track of the finished weight of each of my projects, and then subtracting that from my original stash weight back in the beginning. This isn't an exact science. I'm not counting the snipped ends after weaving, or any failed attempts (tangled yarn, a small project that didn't turn out exactly how I pictured it in my mind, etc). So, the stash is actually losing weight at a more rapid pace than what the Stash Stats widget shows. Maybe I'll re-set the stash weight every few months to get a more accurate accounting of where my yarn goes...

I'll leave you with this yumminess. I'm training my four month old to nap during the day, which is a tedious process. It keeps you cooped up inside while you watch the clock and put them down at the appropriate times. Today I decided to make these muffins because I had all the ingredients on hand. I know! How often does THAT happen? 

They have whole wheat flour, oat bran, oats, and wheat germ in them, so they're packed with fiber and they're surprisingly moist, thanks to the blueberries and banana and applesauce. Mmmm, a cuppa Joe, a muffin, a napping baby, and my knitting! What could be better?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fun with Java

I have a couple of big projects in my WIP basket, but I needed to take a break from them to work on something with instant gratification. My husband is a bit of a coffee fiend lately, and he takes his re-usable cup to Starbucks just about every afternoon for a pick-me-up. Sometimes I get one too, and when I do, I pull out the coffee sleeve I made a few years ago. He asked me for one, but he wanted it with some added coolness. "Can you make me one with a skull?" Sure, why not? I tried a couple of things but failed--either they were fair isle, and thus not stretchy enough, or the skull just looked amateurish and wonky. But I persevered, and found a very cute skull pattern to embroider onto the finished piece.

But I also saw this, and being big Gru fans in this house, I gave that a shot, too. Unfortunately, the author of the pattern has taken it down temporarily, so I just used the picture and improvised as best I could. I'm pretty happy with the results. My daughter has claimed the Minion for herself!

Project Weight: 40 grams
New Stash Weight: 12,193 grams

Now I'm going to enjoy a cup of tea while the rain falls softly on this chilly Arizona day. I'll leave you with this highly unusual image: the Superstition Mountains to the east of our house, covered in snow! Breathtaking sight!

Monday, February 11, 2013


When my daughter N1 was born 6 years ago, my very bestest friend and her mom gave her a Bunnies by the Bay security blanket. And it was so cuddly and soft that my baby girl latched onto it right away. Bun Bun went everywhere with us--bed at night, daycare and preschool, Grandma's house, even Disneyland. No matter where we went, Bun Bun was right there in N1's arms. Once we left her in Palm Springs, and we pulled a totally illegal U-turn on I-10 to go back and get her. Another time we left her at the hair salon, and it was a month (and an overnight order from Amazon for a second bunny) before we got her back. Even now, N1 looks for her bunny first thing when she gets home from school and she has to sleep with her every night. This is the Bunny Pose:

Fingers in mouth, nose buried in the ears or neck. N1 is in kindergarten now, so Bun Bun has to stay at home with us. One morning after we dropped N1 at school, this happened:

Oh no. Now this just won't fly. N1 already has to share her parents with her sister, don't make her share Bun Bun too! I knew then and there I needed to get N2 her very own lovey, stat.

I make baby gifts left and right--I love to do it. My cardinal rule is that it has to be machine washable, whether it's a blanket, a quilt, a stuffed animal, or a sweater. It's going to get puked on, peed on, spilled on, dragged through the mud, dropped under the wheels of the stroller, etc. This was the perfect use of some craft-store acrylic, namely Hobby Lobby I Love this Yarn. I had some grey and pink leftovers and I found this Bear Lovey pattern on Ravelry. About 4 hours of work later (stretched over a couple of days), I came up with this:

Time to see if it flies with N2. 

Something tells me they'll be BFFs just like N1 and Bun Bun. Maybe I need to make a second one, just in case...

Project Stats:
Item Weight (with fiber fill): 188 grams
New Stash Weight: 12,233 grams

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Surf's Up!

Socks are really fun to make. I'm not as prolific a sock knitter as my friend Andi, who is the queen of pretty socks, but I can hold my own. They need to be interesting for me to make them: lace is good. Purling is not. I hate switching between knitting and purling in the same round on those tiny toothpick-like needles. I'm a thrower, you see, so it takes a lot of effort to do that. :)

I saw these socks on Knitty, and I loved them! I used part of my Christmas KnitPicks gift card to buy the stripey yarn, and I pulled the deep green out of my stash. This was the result. It was fun, and a relatively easy knit, despite the intarsia and knitting back and forth. It's toe-up, meaning you start at the toe and work your way to the cuff. I prefer that method to starting at the cuff and working down to the toe: you can always ensure that your foot is the right length and you can stop knitting the cuff when you run out of yarn. So much safer that way, and no fingernail biting to see if you'll have enough yarn to get to the toe! I'm pretty pleased that the stripes line up as well as they do. There are a few hiccups, but whaddya gonna do?

Project Stats:
Pattern: Stitch Surfer
Yarn: KnitPicks Felici Fingering Weight, Hummingbird; and KnitPicks Essential (Discontinued).

Stash Stats:
Item Weight: 77g
Old Stash Weight: 12,498g
New Stash Weight: 12,421g

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Precious Gem

My gorgeous niece Gemma, modeling the Baby Amanda hat, the Ruffled Legwarmers, and a basic cowl. 

Yarn: Knitpicks Bare Worsted
Color: Kool-Aid dyed with lime flavored mix

Not subtracting from the stash because I sent this off to Gemma before I weighed everything.