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21  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Serenity crib blanket, or: pushing the limits of my circular needles on: December 03, 2012 07:15:37 PM

I had downloaded this pattern some time ago, thinking it was a pretty pattern I might do sometime.  Finding myself with a complete One Pound Caron skein in grape, I figured the time was now!

I really enjoyed the pattern, altho' fitting the circumference of a 42" square blanket onto my circular needles was a bit of a challenge.  Next time -- and I'm sure there will be a next time! -- I'll use either thinner yarn or bulkier needles to show of the stitches better.

22  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Raspberry Parfait cowl on: June 12, 2012 09:34:44 AM

Last Christmas I fell in love with this bandana cowl pattern, and made them for lots of folks in different yarns.  I liked it soo much, I actually started one for myself.  (Isn't it funny how rarely we craft anything for ourselves?) I got to the end of the two skeins of silk/bamboo I'd had in my stash forever, and had to put it aside.

6 months later, I still hadn't been able to find the dusty pink -- so I just finished it off in plum.  I think it looks like one of those layered jello desserts!  And it's sooooo soft and toasty.  Pity it's another 5 months before I can wear it!

** Here's the link to the pattern -- it's really simple and very stylish!
23  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / HP Summer School Scarf/Stole on: May 31, 2012 01:51:15 PM
My challenge this week in the Harry Potter Summer Session was to create something purple that could help me accomplish a stealthy mission.

I've had a lovely skein of baby blue, super-soft, sportweight yarn hanging around for quite some time, so I used a little red food coloring dye and a pattern I made up as I went along, and came up with this pretty thing.

It's one of those nice yarn/patterns that, if you stretch it lengthwise, it makes a nice scarf that wraps several times around your neck.  And stretched widthwise, it makes a nice cowl, or stole for chilly nights out.

A closer look at the lace:

Knit up pretty fast, too; I think it took less than a week of evening, TV-watching time!

24  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / I made a few buddies this holiday season... on: December 19, 2011 03:10:56 PM
Buddy cowls, that is!  I think this is my official pattern of the holiday season -- I've made them for everyone.  They are very easy, very quick to knit, and they don't use much yarn, so you can splurge on really nice yarn.

(If you're on Ravlry, here's the pattern link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/a-buddy-cowl)

My final modification is to cast on 60 stitiches instead of 50.  And after the final pattern round, purl one round, knit one round, and cast off in purl.

I've made so many, I have to hope my friends don't all get together this winter....

25  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Song Sparrow bandana cowl on: December 17, 2011 06:48:35 PM
So called for the way I see the yarn (which is Vanna's Colors 'Driftwood')

Here's a link to the pattern:  http://www.purlbee.com/bandana-cowl

Really like this pattern, but knit in a bulky yarn makes it pretty big.  Still the still and the color make it perfect for a guy!

I started another version of this with doubled strands of Patons silk/bamboo, but I need to get another skein.  (The yarn estimates, by all accounts, are pretty far off.) I think the silky yarn will drape more, and the size will be less of an issue.  I've got some more of the Vanna's Colors that I'd like to use with this pattern for my sister.  Next time I will cast on 10 fewer stitches, and start the decrease rows as soon as I finish the short rows.  And I'll only do one repeat of the garter stitch at the top.

'But other than that, how did you enjoy the pattern, Mrs. Lincoln?'

(seriously, all props to the designer, it's a really nice pattern and gives you an easy intro to short rows.)
26  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Three Capucines and a Cowl on: August 01, 2011 10:53:28 AM
Despite the heat (and no air conditioning!) I've been plugging away on some Christmas presents.  My first attempt at a Capucine hat produced something child-sized, but I really liked the pattern.  It only takes a day or two of knitting, and used only a skein per, so I made a few more, in some sumptous yarns I found on clearance.

I also used some lace-weight yarn I had on hand to make a soft cowl.  I knew I wanted something that flared over my shoulders a bit, but I miscalculated somewhat.  Still, I'm really pleased with it.  I used the Cat's Paw decorative stitch from Barbara Walker.  Trying to think of other places I can use that stitch -- I really like it!

Noice to have some Christmas gifts out of the way already -- but I'm ready to switch back to knitting in light-weight cotton for the rest of the summer!
27  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / ReVamped Veggie Garden at Work on: June 30, 2011 12:06:49 PM
I was going to wait to post this until everything was planted and mulched, but Ill be away from the computer for several days, and I cant wait!

A few years ago a well meaning friend of the radio station where I work decided we needed a vegetable garden to complement the flowers and fruit tree garden wed established.  So he brought over a bunch of tomato plants and just plunked them down on a grassy slope behind the building.

I knew the grounds crew with either mow them down, or theyd get washed down the hill by the rain, so I hastily built some little terraces, from some of the salvaged bricks weve got stockpiled.

It was an okay system, and lasted us a few summers, but the winter rains finally took their toll.   Altho the grape vines, blackberries and golden raspberries were doing very well, the run down terraces made the stretch look abandoned.  So the grounds crew began chopping away at our plants.  When I came in and realized theyd reduced a 3 foot tall raspberry loaded with flowers to a 6 inch stub, I figured it was time to revitalize our garden.  (Not to mention it was high time to get those maters out there!)  So, 2 weekends later.

Whoever inherits this building after us is going to have a bit of trouble ripping this out!  I used cinder blocks (heavy and cheap) to form new terraces, and the salvaged brick to edge the beds, and make it easier to mow around. (Were on a high school campus, and the grounds crew has enough other things to worry about!)
While I was at it, I mixed in a lot of compost, peat, and coffee grounds, to lighten up and enrich the clay-and-rock fill dirt the slope is made of.  Its a little hard to see the plants in the glare of the mid-day light, but weve already got the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans and zucchini in. Still room for some more peppers, some chard, chives, oregano and malabar spinach (most of which are waiting at home, to be brought in and planted).  And I have the promise of free mulch being dropped off this weekend!

Since watering has been kind of a pain the last few years (filling a bucket at the kitchen sink, then hauling it out back and repeating ad naseum) we decided to take advantage of a poorly planned drainspout that simply cascades water out of a pipe five feet up on the wall within the generator cage.  I bought a 50 gallon plastic storage tote at the box store,  (cheaper and larger than the plastic trash can I originally planned on) along with a brass hose fitting and 15 feet of vinyl tubing.

We drilled a hole at the bottom of the tote, and epoxied the brass fitting in, then attached the hose. 
We cut a hole in the lid of the tote, and dropped in two mosquito dunks.  (I also wired an old cooling rack at a slant to one side.  I once found a drowned squirrel in a water filled garbage can, and I always worry about little animals.)  Given the amount of roof this pipe drains, a light rain could easily fill five of these size containers, but were starting small.  I used the system to water everything this morning, and I am insanely pleased! 

All in all, weve got about 60 square feet of garden, and we spent about $50.  It would have been half that, but I didnt want to scrounge around and try to salvage cinder blocks.  Best of all, weve added to our garden space, enriching our work area, and were all looking forward to supplementing our salads with fresh veggies from out back!
28  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / At last, it's done! -- Felted Pirate tote bag on: May 31, 2011 01:45:12 PM


I made this tote for one of my best friends.  And shes the ONLY one I would have made it for. With anybody else in mind, I would have thrown up my hands and tried something faster less than a month into the process!  

Its not that its difficult the techniques are actually fairly simple, and the pattern is wonderfully written clear as glass and very helpful.

But its double knit, which makes it fully reversible, but is also incredibly tedious, and its knit to be felted, so it had to be huge.  I was afraid it would shrink too much, but the final product is 11 tall, 10 wide and 6 deep.  Im quite pleased with it, and as a fellow knitter, I think my friend will not only like it, but appreciate the effort, too!

29  KNITTING / Knitalongs / Patchwork Sampler Blanket/Pillow Knitalong! on: January 10, 2011 10:07:04 AM
Ive been having a lot of fun knitting patchwork quilts, using up scraps of yarn and learning new stitches, and think it would make a fun knit-along.  The premise is simple; you knit and bind off a block, then pick up stitches along one edge with a new yarn, and knit another block using a different stitch.
   If youve ever wanted to make a blanket or pillow top, but find yourself getting bored or losing steam halfway thru, this is a great way to hold your interest.  You can make the squares as big or small as you like, and even the most deliberate knitter can easily finish a square in a weekend.  You get the satisfaction of completing something in very rewardingly short intervals.

   If youve ever spent time page thru a stitch pattern book, or been intimidated by the Barbara Walker Treasuries this is a great way to get in some practice before you commit to doing a huge expanse of dragon scale or pinecone eyelet.  Dont like the way a square is shaping up? Its easy as pie to rip it out and try another.  (Im a nervous Nellie about frogging back a few rows!)  If you hate to sew up seams, this has the advantage of breaking that process down into manageable pieces; you simply sew up one side of the square as you go.  If I had to sew long strips of seams, stuff would stay in my knitting box for a long time, but even I can manage to sew up 6-7 inches at a time.

   Plus its a great way to use up all those small balls of yarn we all seem to accumulate.  As with traditional patchwork, its fun to look back over the finished project and see the yarn you used in your first scarf, or the cool hat you made for your brother in law.

   You can commit to any size project you want, from pillow top to blanket or just knit as long as you want.  (My first scrappy project was a crib quilt with some crazy angles.  My latest was a 72x56 blanket for my niece.) You can buy a few color-coordinated skeins to start, or simply use up what you have on hand.
If people are interested in knitting along, I can post a few stitches of varying complexities on a regular basis one stitch a week?  Three stitches every fortnight? and we can work on them together.  Or other people can post their new favorite stitches.  The more the merrier, and theres a whole world of cool stitches out there!
I have some birthday projects to wrap up this week, but Im looking forward to starting some pillow shams  soon. Let me know if youre interested in making this a knit-along itd be great to have some virtual knitting buddies!

30  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Scrappy II is nearly done! on: December 20, 2010 11:05:20 AM
Just a border to go, and this 72"x56" blanket is ready to give my niece for Christmas!

I started this a way to use up lots of little balls and partial skeins of blue and green yarn.  But it just kept growing until it completely covers the top of a full bed, above.  Rather than knit separate squares and piece them together, I picked up stitches from a completed square and knit from there.  Keeps sewing up (my least favorite thing!) to a minimum.

My niece, who has a really good eye, helped me a lot when I brought Scrappy home for the weekends.  She'd go thru the enormous bag of yarn I carted around with the blanket, and select one, then go thru the pattern books and choose a stitch.  It's a great way to experiment with new stitches without having to commit.  (She doesn't know she's getting the blanket, but last time I was home she spread it out on the floor and posed on it, to show me how well it sets off her blue eyes!)

And one last pic, because I had a lot of fun with this, and I'm (just a little) sorry to see it go!

Thanks for looking!
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