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1  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Medical bracelet with style on: June 26, 2010 01:41:01 PM
I've been shopping around for a medical bracelet for a while, but all I've found has either been hideous or too expensive.  When I found a pre-engraved tag for really cheap on Ebay, I decided to make my own.





The three strands were strung on a single piece of fishing line anchored with a lobster claw on either side. Each strand follows a different pattern using the same four types of beads.  Because of the lobster claws, if I get tired of this bracelet, I can easily switch it out for another one.
2  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Trilobite Hat on: August 21, 2009 09:40:08 PM
Hey Craftsters!  I knit a hat!



It's the Trilobite hat from Knitty, knit with size 6 needles and Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran yarn.  I used just slightly over one skein, so I have enough left over to make one for my bio-nerd brother if I cut a few rows off the ribbing.



I cast on the day the summer issue of Knitty came out and was the second person on Ravelry to finish it.  It's a little frustrating having a nice new winter hat finished in the middle of the summer, but from when I tried the hat on, it's nice, soft, and warm.  The yarn is silk, cashmere, and merino, and considering how itchy any kind of wool usually is for me, I think this yarn is a miracle.  The color isn't one I would normally like (I got the yarn in a mystery bag from discountyarnsale.com), but it really works for this hat.

The pattern is GENIUS and I can't wait for the weather to cool down so I can wear it!
3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Seeking Macrame Owl Pattern (seriously!) on: May 04, 2009 02:40:33 PM
Hello.  I have some horribly scratchy nylon yarn from the 70's.  My roommate and I are both really into ugly 70's stuff, and I really want to use it to make some horrible Macrame Owls for our kitchen wall.  Problem: I can't seem to find any patterns for them online.  I have never done macrame before, and I don't think I could figure out how to make owls if I just learned the basics somewhere.

Does anybody know of a good book that shows how to make macrame owls?  Or a website that shows you how to do it? My internet search did not come up with very good results.  And it doesn't seem like there are many macrame posts on craftster besides that April Fool's post this year!
4  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Quinoa Stuffed Red Pepper on: March 04, 2009 10:42:55 PM

I've been eyeing the beautiful red peppers at the store lately, but couldn't think of a reason to buy one until this week.  I have a recipe for stuffed acorn squash I really like, and decided I could stuff a pepper instead.  Here's what I did:

Rinse and soak 3/4c quinoa for a few minutes, then drain, add 1 1/2 c water, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10-12 minutes.  Then remove from heat, leaving covered for another 5 minutes.

After starting the quinoa, cut a pepper in half and remove the seeds.  Brush with olive oil and place on a baking sheet in the oven, preheated to 350*

Chop up 4 cloves of garlic and about 1/2 c of any other delicious morsels.  I threw in some chopped mushrooms and leftover burrito "meat" from a few nights earlier.  Fry in a pan at medium to medium high heat.  When tender, season veggies with 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, and around 1/2 to 3/4 tsp cinnamon, along with some salt.  After mixing in the seasoning with the veggies, dump the quinoa in the pan once it's cooked.  Stir for a bit, mixing the veggies into the quinoa.  If you find the quinoa to be dry, add a tablespoon or two of fruit juice.  I've had to do this before, but not this last time.

Pull out the baking sheet with the peppers and spoon them full of quinoa stuffing.  Put back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Enjoy!  I love quinoa like no tomorrow, and this is my favorite thing I've made with it.  It's so fun to make too since it practically explodes when you cook it.  If anybody tries this, let me know what you think!
5  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / Freshly Dyed Merino Sock Yarn on: February 10, 2009 10:23:38 PM
These are from my third round of yarn dyeing.  I think I'm getting the hang of it now Wink
For reference, I use yarn recycled from sweaters and learned how to dye yarn from this tutorial on Knitty and this tutorial on PieKnits.


Lionfish


Plankton


Iceberg


Giant Squid

The Plankton is super-bright, but at a cost.  I used way too much dye.  In fact, I used so much dye, that the leftover dye in the cups as I was rinsing them out was enough to dye the base of Iceberg to the nice pale blue.  If I'd found a way to save all the dye that bleed from the Plankton as I was rinsing it, I probably could have dyed another skein.  It took me 10 rinses to get the water to run clear!  So let this be a lesson to you: 1 1/4 tsp of the Wilton's dye is WAY TOO MUCH for 100g of sock-weight merino.

Another fun story about this batch: the Giant Squid is so named because of the elusiveness of the colorway.  The subtle gray, brown, and purples were a complete surprise: I actually used dye from a bunch of different dye-tests, all mixed together, to dye this yarn.  The dye water actually looked dark forest green! I had no idea I was going to end up with this color, but I'm definitely not complaining!
6  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Basic Slip from Knitting Lingerie Style on: January 28, 2009 10:43:13 PM
I actually finished knitting this dress in August, but it took me until just a few days ago to actually find the right kind of ribbon to make the straps.  You'd think it would be a lot easier to find plain black ribbon, but it's really not!

The pattern is the Basic Slip from the book Knitting Lingerie Style by Joan McGowan-Michael.  She has a bunch of other great patterns on her website White Lies Designs.  The pattern calls for Cascade Fixation, a great stretchy cotton-elastic yarn, which allows the dress to be so form-fitting.  The drop-stitch accents are done in a ribbon yarn.  I used Lion Brand Trellis, a different yarn than the pattern called for, and I love how it turned out.

 


An in-progress pic that shows the drop-stitch parts a little better

I altered the pattern a little bit: I knit the smallest size because I'm thin, but I'm bustier than the smallest size was intended for.  I did a few extra increases for the bust shaping to prevent the dress from being too obscene.

I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear this outside!
7  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Greasy Classics made Vegan--MOZZARELLA STICKS and chili cheese on: January 25, 2009 06:21:21 PM
I've been vegan for 7 years now, and if it's one thing I can't stand, it's how so many food companies think vegan = uber healthy sprouts and whole grains.  I'm vegan for the animals, not because I have a granola fetish, and it's a very sad day when the only vegan snacks I can find are whole grain, fat-free, low sodium monstrosities.  Give me something deep-fried!

For all the other deep-fried-loving, high-sodium-diet vegans out there, I want to share my greatest discoveries: vegan mozzarella sticks, chili cheese dogs and chili cheese fries.

Before I was vegan, mozzarella sticks were one of my favorite foods, and it's been a very sad 7 years since the last time I've had them.  I got ahold of this new vegan cheese called Teese, which is absolutely amazing.  I haven't found it in stores where I live, so I had to order it online from veganessentials.com.  It was totally worth it.  I've heard that this is the best fake cheese out there so far, and I can see why.  After using some for pizza, I realized it would probably be a really good base for mozzarella sticks.  I tried making some without a recipe, which ended in an oily disaster.  Then I found this recipe for mozzarella sticks.  Apparently the trick is to double and even triple dip the cheese sticks in the breading.

I followed that recipe almost exactly, doing three runs through the breading cycle, substituting the granola-friendly whole-wheat pastry flour for good, old fashioned plain white flour.  I also used canola oil, which I use every time I deep fry something.  Much less healthy, much more delicious.





They weren't gooey and stringy like real mozzarella sticks are, but the flavor is spot on, at least from what I remember they tasted like 7 years ago.

Another one of my recent favorites is chili cheese.  My doctor chastised me for not getting enough fiber, and told me to try eating beans every day.  She suggested chick-peas and hummus, but that stuff is WAY too healthy for me.  So when I'm in need of a fiber kick, I go for chili cheese fries and chili cheese dogs.



Sorry, I eat the chili cheese fries too fast to have a picture, but I do have a picture of the chili cheese dogs I made a few nights ago.  These are really really easy to make: I buy some chili beans in sauce from the store (make sure to check the ingredients! I use Fred Meyer brand), and heat them up on the stove.  Meanwhile, I prepare frozen French fries or vegan hot dogs like normal.  For the cheese fries, I generally grate some cheddar Vegan Gourmet cheese into the beans while they're heating up, and then after I've dumped the cooked fries in a bowl, I'll pour a bunch of the chili cheese on top of them.  For the chili dogs, I cooked the beans separate and melted the grated cheese in the microwave.  If you do it this way, you have to be really quick because the cheese only stays melted for a few seconds before it solidifies again.

If anybody else tries making the mozzarella sticks, I'd love to see more pictures and hear more thoughts on them.  I've tried making mozzarella sticks with a bunch of other types of vegan cheeses, but I never had them turn out edible before.
8  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Sweater Reincarnation UPDATED with semi-tutorial on: January 19, 2009 02:11:45 PM
Here's my newest sweater:

Once upon a time, I bought a sweater from a thrift store. It was a large, light olive turtleneck with a fiber content of wool, viscose, angora and cashmere, and was priced at $6.99. I love buying sweaters to unravel because I can usually find some really good quality yarn for really cheap, and I always end up with enough to make at least one sweater.


The sweater in question

In the midst of a yarn dyeing frenzy, I came across a cheap pattern for a really cute sweater

Despite my dislike of cropped sweaters and short sleeves, there was something about it that just screamed knit me now! When I was looking at the yarn requirements for this sweater, I noticed that called for yarn of the exact same weight as that green sweater I'd bought several months earlier. There was one problem, however. Olive green is one of my favorite colors, and as such I tend to accumulate lots of things (such as yarn) in it. The yarn I'm going to be making shrug out of soon is the exact same color as the sweater in question. What did I do? I dyed it

Unraveling the sweater went very smoothly, and I ended up with 1423 yards of very high quality DK weight yarn. This is A LOT, considering the sweater it came from was three sizes bigger than I typically wear.

Dyeing it, on the other hand, was more complicated and labor intensive than I expected. Because I had so much yarn, I needed a LOT of dye. I actually dyed it all once, and then realized it wasn't nearly as dark as I wanted, and had to dye it all again. My dye pots aren't big enough to hold that much yarn, so I had to do all the yarn in several batches, requiring some very careful measurements and calculations to make sure each skein got the same amount of dye to ensure they were all the same shade.


I used Wilton's cake dye paste, in color Teal to dye over the olive color and get more of an emerald tone. This tutorial was a great help in dyeing yarn with this type of dye.

Not quite the color I wanted, but close enough. I ran out of dye and didn't feel like attempt #3
Determined to be the first person to finish this sweater on Ravelry, I cast on as soon as my yarn was dry, on Christmas Day. It wasn't as simple as just following the pattern, though. I don't like cropped sweaters, so I basically had to write a pattern for the bottom half of this cardigan, and I completely re-wrote the sleeves. Things went better than I could have possibly imagined: the additions to the pattern came out exactly as I hoped they would and the sweater fits perfectly. Since the sweater is knit in separate pieces, I had to do a lot of seaming, and setting in the sleeves was pretty labor-intensive, but the results were perfect. For buttons, I went back to the thrift store and found an old button-up dress from the early 90's, and stole the buttons off of it. I ended up with 14 3/4" abalone buttons for $6.99. I don't even want to think what I would have paid for buttons like that new.








I'm surprised this pattern isn't more popular than it is. On Ravelry, it's only being knit by one other person, and is only in two other's queues. If anybody here likes my mods and wants to take a crack at this sweater, let me know and I can let you know what I did. The sweater itself was pretty easy to knit, but the seams might be somewhat daunting to somebody without much of a sewing background. The cable pattern is easy as cake and I had it memorized after three repeats.

I got asked by some people in a different place I posted for info on how I modified it, and I figured it's only fair I share on Craftster too.


The modifications for the body were really easy for me to figure out because my high hip measurement and my bust measurement are the same. I'm a visual thinker, so the first thing I did was draw a schematic. It looked like this:


The row gauge for the sweater is 8 rows per inch. I wanted the sweater to be at my high hip, which is 5" down from my waist. This would be 40 rows. I looked at the pattern for the bust increases, and realized that the increases were done over slightly under 40 rows. The sweater is knit from the bottom up, so as the pattern is written, you'd cast on at the waist, and after the ribbing, immediately start doing increases for the bust. Since my hip and bust measurements are the same, this meant I could just mirror the shaping. I looked ahead in the pattern to see the stitch count when the increases were done (the stitch count at the bust) and cast on that number minus 4 for the back and minus 2 for the fronts (there's a set-up row with these stitches added after the ribbing).

I worked in 2x2 rib for 2", making sure to write down how many rows this was for the other pieces, and then followed the pattern more or less as it was written, except instead of doing increases at first, I did decreases. When I finished the decreases and had the number of stitches the pattern said I should have after the set-up row, I worked even for 17 rows before doing the increases. This area took the place of the ribbing in the original pattern. After that, I followed the pattern as stated. Because of the alterations, the instructions to "knit until piece measures X inches" wasn't helpful to me, so I wrote the number stated + the length I had added in my alterations. For me, this ended up being 6 inches instead of the 5 I had measured originally.

The sleeves were a lot more labor-intensive. I measured my arms at my wrist, my elbow, and around the highest part of my bicep, and added around half an inch to an inch of ease, depending on where it was (the elbow got more ease). I measured the distance from my wrist to my elbow, and from my elbow to my armpit. And then I drew another picture:



I made sure that my bicep measurement and stitch count would be the same as the pattern would have it be to ensure that the sleeve cap would fit into the armscye. Then I used the gauge given in the pattern to figure out how many stitches I would need at my wrist and elbow, and found out how many rows would be in between them. This way, I found out how many stitches I would need to increase over how many rows. For example, I had to increase from 42 sts at the wrist to 62 sts at the elbow over 68 rows. This meant 10 paired increases over 68 rows, or 1 paired increase every 6.8 rows. I rounded up to 7. I had a different rate of increases between my elbow and my bicep, because I'm pretty scrawny and the two measurements are only 1.5 inches apart.

When I was picking up stitches for the button band, I figured out that the pattern has you pick up 2 sts for every 3 rows. So instead of picking up the number the pattern said to, I took the number of rows I had (it was very helpful to take so many notes in the end!) and multiplied it by 2/3 to get the number I'd need to pick up.

And that's pretty much it. One thing I would HIGHLY recommend doing is knitting the fronts at the same time. You'll have to wrangle two strands of yarn, but you will be certain that they are both the same length and you won't have to keep really anal notes like I did. I knit the sleeves at the same time, and it really helped. If I did this sweater again, I'd knit the fronts at the same time as well.

ALSO!! People have been requesting sweater recycling tutorials. I found this really good one, complete with pictures of pretty much every step imaginable. Recycling sweaters can be a little bit of work sometimes, but keep in mind, I paid $6.99 for enough wool-viscose-angora-cashmere to knit a full sweater AND still have 400 yards left. Even at LYS clearance sales, I wouldn't be able to get over 1400 yards of a similar yarn for that cheap. And if I could, please tell me where. Cheesy
9  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Koolhaas on: January 08, 2009 11:52:30 PM
Since I started using Ravelry, I have been completely neglecting posting in Craftster.  So here is my most recent finished object: Koolhaas by Jared Flood.  The yarn is Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran, and I ended up going down two needle sizes, using a size 6 and 4, to get gauge. I used two skeins, and had just one yard left after casting off.  I love the yarn, but I wish alpaca didn't make me itch so much and the yarn smells kinda bad when I wear the hat in the rain.

This hat took me two days.  I could have finished it in one, but all those cables slowed me down a bit.


I love the stitch pattern.


My head isn't shaped this weird in real life, I swear.


An in-progress picture


Bad camera-phone picture that shows the color most accurately.
10  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / Popped my yarn-dyeing cherry on: December 18, 2008 08:03:50 AM
I've been collecting sweaters from thrift stores for a while now and have knit a thing or two with the recycled yarn, but I haven't actually dyed any of it until now.  I got seven 50g/215yd skeins of sock yarn out of ONE sweater.  The best part about this was since the yarn was feltable, I could just felt the ends together if I had a bunch of short sections.



I used a tutorial from Knitty as a guide.  I did the hot pour method, and used the neon food colorings from the grocery store.  For most of them, I had all the yarn in one pot and poured in the colors, but for the green and pink one, I kept a small section out of the green, and then put that section into the pink after the green was done.  I was able to get a similar effect to the tutorial's cold pour, but without having to clear off a table and risk my cat getting covered in dye.

I knit a swatch with the green yarn, and I LOVE how it's turning out:



While I was on a dyeing frenzy, I dyed some wool yarn I already had that I hated the color of.  I turned this



into this:


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