Friday, November 14, 2014

In the Clouds cowl.

Brr. It's cold. And I, like a fool, left the house without any cold weather gear. So I stopped by Michaels and picked up the new Loops and Threads chunky yarn - my plan was to get the thickest yarn possible so I could whip up a cowl for the bike ride home from work. This yarn was added to Ravelry on November 1st, which is why I think it is new.

The yarn is soft and easy to work with, but sheds all over the place. I worked flat on size 17 needles because that is all I had with me. It took about an hour to whip this up. My coworker commented that the yarn was like a fluffy cloud, so I did it in seed stitch to give it a lovely cloudy texture.

I wanted it extra tall so it would cover my face while riding. If you want a more relaxed cowl, cast on fewer stitches (8 would be good).

When I was walking around the grocery store, I flipped it down so it was folded in half, which worked pretty well.


Cast on 10 stitches
Knit in seed stitch for approx. 20 inches
Bind off and seam

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gifting is what I do best

Two hats and one set of arm warmers.  In all the time that I have been knitting, that is all I have knit for myself (and managed to keep). 

Besides these three items I've knitted plenty of other projects - 64 according to my Ravelry profile - for other people. That number does not include the miles of garter stitch scarfs I made when I was first learning to knit, or a few other stray projects that never made their way to Ravelry glory. 

In the past few weeks I've managed to whip up four hats, two scarves, and one dishcloth.

For my sister, one of those Ruffle scarves made with novelty yarn. This was slow going at first, but once I got into the groove I was done before I knew what was going it. It turned out pretty well - unfortunately I forgot to pack it, so it will have to go in the mail as her birthday present in the spring.

For my mom, a famous Ballband dishcloth. I don't know why I have so much of this funky Sugar and Cream yarn. It looked so cool in the store. But I knew my mom would love it, even with my forgotten slipped stitches. I paired it with a bar of fancy soap from TJ MAXX (shh, don't tell) and wrapped it in a pretty ribbon. She loved it! 

The hats are for various folks, a red one for DH's grandmother's 80th birthday (a most auspicious day), a blue one that DH has been asking me for, a cabled hat for my niece  and a no-pattern stockinette beanie for my nephew.

And the other scarf. I wanted to make something pretty for my mom, as it seems I am always giving her practical things. This pattern was inspired by my love for Miss Marple (which started during my early teen year infatuation with British murder mysteries).

But this is what it wound up looking like:

I don't know, those decreases got to me, and by the time I noticed the was too late. My mom loved it anyway.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baby Fun

My coworker is expecting in January and her baby shower is coming up. I saw that she had some baby mittens on her registry so I decided to knit her some. I improvised the pattern today while attending a conference for work. I had both mittens done by lunch. She is having a boy so I used some pretty variegated blue yarn that I have had in my stash for a while. I didn't have any dpn's with me so they are knit flat and seamed. I had both mittens done well before lunch.

Here is the recipe.

I used worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles

CO 20 st
rows 1-6: knit in a k2 p2 rib
rows 7-17: knit in stockinette

Begin decrease

row 18: *P2, P2tog* to end of row(15 sts)
row 19: knit
row 20: purl
row 21: *k1, k2tog* to end of row (10 sts)
row 22: p2tog to end of row (5 ts)

bind off remaining 5 sts, leaving a tail long enough to seam, and seam up side

I also made a baby hat. Unfortunately I had to use a different yarn so it doesn't match, but at least I got to practice magic loop. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but it is done.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Yarn Season

It's that time of year again! Time for pumpkin treats and crackling leaves and, of course, yarn! I tried to knit over the summer, I really did. I picked up my needles more than once with the full intention of getting by holiday gifts done oh so early..but did I finish anything? No. Instead I distracted myself with sewing and stenciling, reading, and not doing a whole lot else. Of course, it is possible to knit in the summer. But it just ins't the same as cozying up with a hot cup of something and playing in all that soft wool.

This weekend includes two awesome knitting-related events. The first is the three-day long NYC Yarn Crawl. LYS's all around the city participate with giveaways and events from Saturday-Monday, and the Yarn Crawl sponsors a scavenger hunt that you play by visiting as many shops as possible.

The only shop I visited was the lovely Purl Soho. They had a raffle going on and I won this awesome Stockinette Snake Kit that was featured over the summer on the The Purl Bee. I can't wait to knit up an adorable snake friend!

The other event was the first annual Kings County Fiber Festival, which took place at the Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The festival included finger knitting demos for kids, lots of local yarn, and a spinning demo. My friend and I learned to needle felt from a lovely lady with Decadent Fibers. We each bought a pumpkin kit and spent the rest of the afternoon felting away! The roving was soft and super easy to work with, and the needles that came with it were heavy duty. I give five stars to Decadent Fibers for their high-quality kits, which I think are offered at a reasonable price.

Monday, September 17, 2012

No-Sew Stenciled Bags

This weekend a friend and I finally broke out my stencils. I bought both Ed Roth's book Stencil.1 and Stencil Me In by  Marthe Le Van a while back but hadn't done any projects with them yet. When I got home I was inspired to do more. I bought these canvas drawstring bags a long time ago thinking I would decorate them and use them to hold knitted items that I gave to people as gifts. My idea was to use them as shopping bags when buying bulk foods, but they have potential for so much more.

Here is the end result. Scroll down for the step by step.

These bags are tiny drawstring backpacks for kids. I think I bought ten of them at Michaels and they cost about a dollar each, or less. To make bags similar to the ones above, you will need

-canvas drawstring bags (available at Michael's in the kids' crafts aisle)
-stencils, which you can purchase or make yourself
-fabric paint (I recommend the pump spray kind, not the trigger kind)
-cardboard or a lot of scarp paper
-masking or painters tape
-paper towels for clean-up

Total cost: About $10.00 for a four pack of paints and four bags with a 40% off single item coupon from Michaels.

To make the bags into regular drawstring bags I cut the strings where they were sewn to the bags on the bottom. Be careful not to cut a hole in the bag when you do this! Tie big knots in the ends of the string or put large beads on them so they stay put and don't fall out of the bag.

When you do this you will have two strings. You can pull one out and put it aside to use for another project, or go ahead and leave both in. I chose to go with only one string. 

If you want, you can end here and have yourself a perfectly find drawstring bag. But what fun is that? 

Iron your bags so your stencil will lay flat. If you have a pet, you may want to go over them with a lint brush or tape first to remove any pet hair that may have accumulated. 

After the bag is ironed, place a piece of cardboard or a stack of paper inside of it to keep the paint from bleeding through. 

Position your stencil where you want it and tape it in place. I used a lot of tape on the sides so I wouldn't have to cover it with paper. 

Mask out any areas you don't want paint to get on with tape and extra paper or cardboard. You can use your finger to hold down areas that might be lifting. Yes, you will get paint on your finger. It washes off. 

I don't have any pictures of myself actually painting the stencil because I only have two hands. All of the stencils I used for this project are from the Stencil.1 book. If you need more instructions, or want to see more ideas for stencil projects, check out Ed's website

Sunday, July 8, 2012


This has been a weekend full of sewing.

First off, the quilt is finished! It is a little puckered and kinda funky - but it held together through the wash and is ready to present!

I can't believe I actually made a quilt. Awesome!

Secondly, I decided I had the quilting bug and made this little sewing machine mat with a matching pincushion.

The pincushion was inspired by this tutorial over at I Can Find the Time. The mat I sort of improvised after looking at a bunch of other tutorials online. It has pockets in the front for my commonly used tools. The fabric has little crafty things on it like pincushions and scissors and I made the measuring tape trim with some fabric that I bought for another project.

Also, my awesome mother in law, who works making sample garments in the fashion district, came over yesterday to help me with a dress pattern. Now that I am almost finished I can tell dress is going to be too small, but it will be a good gift for someone. At any rate, she scoffed (yes, scoffed!) at my Ginghers! She said "I will have to give you some good fabric scissors." These are Ginghers! I thought. The best of the best! And you dare scoff? But I only said "okay, thanks." So I went over to her place today and look what she gave me.

Kai scissors. I beleive these are the S-100's. While I was there she split some fabric with me and I used these to cut it. They are amazing. Probably weigh less than half what the Ginghers do and razor sharp. And they aren't new, either. The paint has come off the handle where the little notch knocks against it. I love them!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Morse Ambassador Vintage Sewing Machine

My new best friend. 

She is a mid-century Morse "Ambassador" Zig Zag sewing machine in two-tone pink. A grad school friend gave her to me. 

I don't know anything about vintage machines except that metal machines will last a really long time and generally need less repairs, and that they are beautiful. I am trying desperately to find out more about her and hoping to get some opinions on how much to pay to get her cleaned and fixed up.  I would love to have her as my "back up" machine and to get rid of the Wal-Mart Brother that I started on. 

Is this the model number? It says "802" This is the bottom of the machine. 

Or is this the model number? It says "J-A19. M. NA 12777 (the last part is probably the serial number). This is stamped on the side of the machine under the deck on the front left. 

Or is this? "J-C4" is stamped under the machine in the front. 

The internet is not helping me. I'm finding a lot of similar machines, but not this one... 

Back view. The metal plate reads "FOR COTTON SIZE OF SILK OR LINEN NEEDLE
then under that
100 to 150 cotton
30 silk (9)
80 to 100 cotton
24 to 80 silk (11)
50 to 80 cotton
20 silk (14)

Motor showing Morse badge
The badge reads "Morse Sewing Machine Motor. 1/8 H.P. 12 AMP AC DC 15 VOLTS

The red button has a "R" on it for reversing. 

All of the other Morse machines I can find pictures of online have three buttons for Drop Feed options. This machine also has three settings - S for Silk, N for Normal, and E for Embroidery - but only the two buttons. 

Besides a good cleaning and tension adjustment, she also needs some wiring work.

This is the disgusting case.