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1  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / labels for knitpicks options set on: August 22, 2008 07:19:42 PM
I just received my new Knitpicks Options interchangeable needle set.  Since I haven't had a chance to use them yet, I can't give any kind of review about the needles, but I wasn't thrilled with the unlabeled needles and storage pouch.  I'm sure I would get different needle sizes mixed up and don't want to use a needle gauge everytime I switch sizes.  So I came up with a solution.  It's really simple, but I figured that other Knitpicks users might appreciate the idea. 
For those unfamiliar with the plastic pouch, info can be found on the Knit Picks website, here: http://www.knitpicks.com/Options+Interchangeable+Circular+Knitting+Needle+Case_ND80403.html
My solution:



I used lavender cardstock cut to fit the pouches (approx 3" tall by 1.25" wide) and hand-stamped the sizes in fuschia ink using little alphabet stamps found in the dollar section at JoAnn Fabrics.  I had planned to simply stamp the size numbers, but didn't have any numbered stamps.  So I spelled out the numbers instead and thought it turned out pretty cute and very practical.  The purple and pink go quite well with the purple needle cables, and the pouch is really pretty great for holding the rest of my non-interchangeable circular needle collection.

Thanks for looking!
2  KNITTING / Knitalongs / Blithe by Kim Hargreaves on: July 10, 2008 08:08:58 PM
Hello, everyone!

Is anyone interested in knitting Blithe by Kim Hargreaves?  I ordered the kit from her site and am ready to start this week.  Since this looks like it could take a while, I thought some knitting company could be nice.

This pattern appears to only be available as a kit with yarn (or at least that's all I could find).  Here's the link:   http://www.kimhargreaves.co.uk/acatalog/BLITHE.html

Any takers???
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Blue Recycled Cotton Ballet Pullover on: July 10, 2008 05:20:45 PM
I just finished the Ballet Pullover from IK Summer 2004.  This pattern is only slightly different than the Ballet t-shirt from Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop book.  I own the book, but I liked that the IK version had a little smaller gauge, more size offerings, and longer sleeves.  This pattern is 4 years old, so it's nothing new, but I really love this top and wanted to share.  I love this so much (comfy, relatively flattering, and super easy to make) that I plan to make another in wool with full length sleeves for winter.

     

The center increases/decreases give this pattern much of its charm (IMO), so I think it's a little sad that they don't stand out as much as they would if I had used a solid colored yarn.

The yarn is a Cotton/Ramie blend rescued from a rather unattractive ribbed turtleneck found at a local thrift store.  For those of you who are as unfamiliar with ramie as I was, Wikipedia says that "Ramie has been around for so long that it was even used in mummy cloths in Egypt during the period 5000-3300 BC and has been grown in China for many centuries...Ramie is one of the strongest natural fibers. It exhibits even greater strength when wet. Ramie fiber is known especially for its ability to hold shape, reduce wrinkling, and introduce a silky lustre to the fabric appearance."  Pretty interesting, eh?

Other details: knit on size 11 Denise circulars with yarn held double.  Lenghtened body by approx. 2.5"
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / beer cap refrigerator magnets on: May 19, 2008 04:38:53 PM
Behold, my beloved beer cap magnets! 



They were made as a somewhat last minute birthday gift for my boyfriend's sister.  I baked polymer clay into the bottom of the caps in order to lift the magnet to the proper height for fridge contact.  Super strong magnets were glued using E6000.  Sorry, I don't have any pics of the backs.

For the gift-giving presentation, I put them in an old altoids tin and tied it in a black ribbon bow:



She loved them! and since I loved them so much, I made myself a set right away.

Just for the heck of it, here's an action shot of them on my fridge:

5  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Has anyone tried Valley Yarns Lenox? on: January 02, 2008 05:12:53 PM
I'm currently looking for yarn for the Bubble Pullover from Knitting Nature, and stumbled upon Valley Yarns Lenox http://yarn.com/webs/0/0/0/0-1001-1294-1323/0/0/3364/ , which is 60% Alpaca 40% Merino.  At $5.49 for 109yds (discountable!!), the price can't be beat amongst others with similar content. 

But why so cheap?  Is the yarn poor quality, or is it simply that there's no middleman?

If anyone has experience with this yarn, or other Valley yarns, please let me know how you've liked them.  I did a search for this yarn here and got 0 results...

Thanks!
6  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Happy Halloween, Martha Stewart! (with idea request) on: September 06, 2007 04:29:20 PM
Have you seen the new Martha Stewart Halloween decoration collection?  I just discovered it at my local Michael's craft store and am in love.  The items are full of that retro/classic style found in her Halloween magazine issues (I honestly don't read the other issues, but I love her Halloween ideas). 

There's "Poison" skull and crossbone labels for your wine bottles, plastic bones and creepie crawlies, stickers, ribbon, etc. 

Here's a link to the product website:
http://www.michaels.com/art/online/displayproductlist?categoryid=120986

I picked up the flocked Spider and Ant stickers and Creepy Creature decorations (rubbery plastic spiders and insects).

I plan to make mini-gifts for all my co-workers by tying a little card (decorated with one bug sticker) around the neck of a bug and leaving it as a little surprise in their cubes.  Kind of silly and insignificant, but I'm super excited about this!  So excited that I think I might start working on the cards tomorrow. 

I'm thinking of making some little treats for everyone, as well, since they're always happy to be fed. 

Does anyone have any Halloween treat ideas that are tasty yet fairly easy to make? 

There's about 20 people in the office, so I don't want anything too intricate or individually-decorated-pieces-time-consuming.  I'm considering chocolate covered cherry mice, which could be cute for Halloween, but making this many would probably be a test for my patience so I'm going to keep searching for other ideas.



Thanks for reading, and thanks for any suggestions you might have!
7  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / my 1st sweater SIZZLES!! on: June 29, 2007 05:19:14 PM
This sweater has been a few different "firsts" for me.  First knitted sweater, first time picking up stitches (ugghh!), and first time blocking.  I've read so much about how blocking makes all the difference in a handmade garment, but this is the first I've witnessed its miracles myself.  And it really works miracles.  Prior to blocking, my sweater was short, squat and a little baggy.  Overall, somewhat unflattering but still wearable.

Then I blocked it, and I couldn't be much happier with my first sweater.


Now I present to you my Sizzle:






For those of you who are not yet familiar with this pattern, it was written by Wendy Bernard and can be found at Knit and Tonic, along with some more flattering pictures of the top.  http://knitandtonic.typepad.com/knitandtonic/2006/07/sizzle.html


I used SWTC Bamboo yarn with size 5 circuler needles.  The yarn is really soft and has a bit of sheen.  However, the recommended gauge printed on the ball band produced a super-loose, completely see-through fabric.   I went down a needle size or two, and it's still a bit see-through even with the tighter gauge.  Due to my gauge issues, I had to go up a pattern size, but it turned out to be a perfect fit.

I have a question for any knitters who might still be reading this post: 
How do you prevent those little holes that formed at my bust increases (M1)?  I think they were less noticeable prior to blocking, since the sweater became a little longer and narrower.  Is this just something normal that is unavoidable or do you think I might be doing something wrong?

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions you might have!
8  CLOTHING / Clothing Sewalongs / Spring and Summer Shirt-along on: February 19, 2007 06:06:49 PM
Though this long, cold winter is far from over, I'm looking forward to summer!  I can always use more summery shirts, so I figure there's no better time to start preparing for warm weather than in freezing cold February.

My first project will be New Look 6563 view A:
http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=6563&show=1

I'm using a stretchy cotton fabric that is off-white with little blue and brown stripes, and have picked some cute brown square shaped buttons and teeny tiny lace for the trim.

So, anyone want to join me in making some warm weather wear?
9  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Pretty Pretty Pottery!!! on: February 04, 2007 02:11:46 PM
Take a look at my pretty pretty pottery (a.k.a. some of my more successful attempts at wheelthrowing):



On the left is one of my favorite mugs; it's the perfect size for hot cocoa.  On the right is a tiny little cup which works surprisingly well when I want just a little taste of juice.  Both have clear glaze on the outside.  The mug has white glaze inside and the small cup has an indigo blue glaze.


This is the closest I've come to making a set of matching mugs:


Side view (with a kitty):

These have my favorite glaze combination: Celadon on the inside and Temoku (a beautiful, almost shimmering, dark brown) on the outside. 

After taking a few sessions of pottery classes, I am still very much a beginner and am currently on hiatus due to frustration caused by my inability to learn how to properly center the clay on the wheel.  These pieces were made months and months ago during a wave of good luck.   Smiley

Hope you like 'em!

10  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Biology/Life Sciences Themed Swap, anyone? on: August 18, 2006 11:40:11 AM
So, I've been thinking that a biology/life sciences themed swap would be fun.  It's been a couple years since school, but I've got some old textbooks laying around that could provide inspiration.

Would anyone else be interested in such a thing?

Ideas and comments welcome.

Also...if anyone is interested in organizing, that would be swell, too.  Otherwise I could do it once I free up some time.
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