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1  New Knitter makes Poor Son Wear her Ugly First Attempts in Knitting: Completed Projects by BeltwaySpinner on: February 14, 2008 11:48:03 AM
This past November, I learned to knit at my husband's urging.  Now I can't stop!
This was my first project, the now infamous Jayne hat I sent to Iraq: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=208149

Here are projects 2, 3, and 4 for my poor unsuspecting son. 

He is way too polite to tell me they are ugly.  When I look at the projects I see TONS of mistakes, but he insists they are warm, snuggly, and awesome... So I can't argue with that.  I've made the boy a Mickey Mouse beanie, doubleknit in garter stitch in the round - with crocheted ears (finally learned to crochet in the round AND have it lie flat, after a week of scary results... and I still don't know how to knit a circle)
My first sweater, seamed with raglan sleeves. with a duplicate stitch Jolly Roger (as I was too intimidated to try fair isle yet).

Then the piano vest - that I created myself without a pattern just by taking his measurements and figuring out gauge, etc... , this was also my first fair isle project, and my first 'top' knit in the round.

I've discovered several things, mostly what NOT to do, but here are the Top Five:
1) I HATE seaming. 
2) When doing Fair Isle, I should go up one needle size.  No matter how much I tug, the tension will be just a little bit tighter throughout that section than the solid color.
3) Next time I make sleeves, I will knit them together side by side on one long circular so they come out the same length and width.
4) Double-ended stitchholders are the greatest thing since chocolate pudding.
5) I am raising an exceptionally polite child that has never hurt my feelings by telling me my FOs are ugly, even when they obviously are!

Comments, Criticism, and Cash always welcome.   Grin
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2  Re: Bowtie Ballet pasta dish with Pic in Recipes and Cooking Tips by BeltwaySpinner on: November 22, 2007 10:15:25 PM

Here is my VEGAN version of this dish.
We really enjoyed it today!  YAY!

My blog link to the recipe, but it was SUPER easy.

For the cream sauce, I blended silken tofu, rice milk, margarine, and fresh garlic
Then I substituted fake bacon.

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3  Re: Crafting my sons lunchbox, at least trying to. in Recipes and Cooking Tips by BeltwaySpinner on: November 18, 2007 09:42:39 PM

Well, I finally attempted to make hot dog creatures.  I guess these are ghosts with toothpick arms.  I used fennel seeds for the eyes.  (I meant to buy nori yesterday but I totally forgot to put it on my list.)  They are on a bed of curried potatoes.  I think the bento looks off somehow, it needs something green thrown in.  I added edamame AFTER the photo.  Alex is using his basketball bento that I picked up at the dollar store.  It isn't airtight though, so I had to put cling film over the food before putting the lid on.
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4  1st Knitting Project: an Iraqi-bound Jayne hat for Hubby *new pic added* in Knitting: Completed Projects by BeltwaySpinner on: November 14, 2007 09:42:30 PM
So all you evil knitters, that have been making me look bad these past several months, I have finally joined your ranks!


I joined Craftster in July this year and one of the first things I spotted a lot of were 'Jayne hats'.  My hubby, Firefly/Serenity geek that he is, became a petulant pouty child and has been constantly nagging me to knit him one.

Jeepchick BEFORE Craftster would have gotten out the Visa and ordered one from any of the knitters selling these online.

Hubby has been deployed since August and at least once a week, he asks me on the phone - don't forget my JAYNE HAT.  Mind you, he insists I KNIT one, not buy one.  Slight hiccup:  I haven't picked up knitting needles in over 23 years ( I am 35).

Enter Jeepchick AFTER Craftster.

My grandma taught me when I was 9, but I haven't attempted anything since I was 11 or 12.  Resourceful little craft vixen that I am, I tried to teach myself with books, podcasts, and videos.  To no avail.  I am just not wired to learn that way.

Finally I said the heck with it, and I signed up for a Knifty Knitting and Crochet class at my nearest Michael's.  Happy DAY!  Yesterday I went for my lesson and found I was the only pupil.  My grandmotherly instructor (with the mouth of a sailor) and I had a swell time.  I had my very own personal knitting tutor for two entire hours.  I told her I was hoping it would be like riding a bike, that it would just 'come back to me'.  She told me it was more like sex. This was our first verbal exchange to one another, and I was too shocked to reply.  Shocked Too bad I didn't. I now find myself wanting to know what she meant exactly. Huh

Well, after some trial and error, it finally did come back to me.  Apparently, my grandmother had taught me a speedy version of something called the continental method.  It was frustrating at first because my instructor kept scolding me for not using my right hand to pick the yarn up and I appeared to be knitting the wrong way.  She reminded me of the nuns at school from when I was a kid.  (Well, except for her potty-mouth.)  I swear I expected her to rap my knuckles with a ruler.  We finally got it all worked out though and I 'found my rhythmn' and was knitting like a champ only one hour into the lesson.  

I had brought in the pattern from http://redshirtknitting.com/?page_id=222 and she took some time to patiently decipher and demonstrate the mysterious terms like k2, purl, cast, and bind.  She also explained things like dye lots, types of yarn, needle sizes, gauge, etc.  I got the ribbing done and the first 2 rows after that, and then my class was over.

Last night I put my son to bed and settled in for a night of knitting, I got into my groove and tore through my project.  By the time I had 'decreased' the top of the hat and was ready to bind, I realized I had forgotten how to do it.  eek!!!   I ended up destroying the last 20 minutes of work and it looked like some yarn monster had taken a big jagged bite out of my project (4 rows worth).  Not knowing how to fix the big chunk missing, I had to undo those rows in their entirety (which was a pain, because every other one was decreasing) and reknit them.  It looked almost as good, but not quite.  Still by the time I got to the end, I did not know how to bind off.  I  scoured my knitting books, laminated drawings, and You Tube knitting videos - but I was hopeless without my surrogate knitting granny.

I wish I could tell you what I did, but I am not exactly sure.  I can tell you that the top row ended up being something like a drawstring opening.  I pulled the yarn through tightly and was able to close the opening that way.

I knit the red ear flaps right onto the orange part of the hat.  One side looks perfect, the other one, I must have done something wrong because the orange is showing through as a thin line in my top row of red.  I forgot exactly how I started the first earflap by the time I started the second.  Oh well.  At 7:40 am this morning, it was all DONE!

You may wonder why the rush, since I waited this long already.  Well, tonight our Air Force base held an event called Project Happy Holidays.  They were photos with Santa, crafting tables for kids (none for grownups - wahhh!), and several tables full of free goodies like books, christmas music CDs, toiletries, and snacks, snacks, and more snacks.  Add food, a 4 piece band playing holiday tunes, and a play area for kids and you get some idea of the madness taking place.  In short, we had everything we needed to prepare awesome, diabetic-coma-inducing postage-free Holiday care packages to our deployed family member.

*NEW PIC* HUBBY FINALLY FINALLY Sent me a pic taken with his isight cam.   Actually he sent me a little video  and this is a screen grab.  Trust me - you DON't want to see the vid.  PLEASE IGNORE Hubby's absolutely HIDEOUS Deployment moustache.
I think the hat adds a nice bit of color to an otherwise blah monochromatic outfit of tan flight suit and tan boots.  It is colder there than I would expect, plus the planes themselves are cold - so he wears it all the time.  (He better - as much as I sweated over it!)  Two more months and I can finally start preparing for him to come home.  (sigh)


This first photo is my son wearing Daddy's hat just before it went into the box bound for Iraq.  The pom-pom doesn't show up well, as the oversized hat just flopped towards the back on his tiny head.  The other photos are of myself with our son making a foam photo frame, and our boy with the wall of Holiday boxes.  Our box to Daddy is easy to spot, as it is the only box on the entire wall covered in stickers.  It is also directly over his head.

So now, I am going to bed early to make up for last night's lack of sleep.  Tomorrow, I will start on a matching Little Jayne hat for my son.  Although since I don't know to make the pattern smaller, I may just duplicate it exactly and run it through the washer and dryer until it fits.   Huh  Any suggestions on pattern modification would be appreciated.

My hubby has been gone since this summer and isn't due home for another 3 and half months.  Craftster has been a life-saver to me on many a lonely evening.  I have been frequenting the sewing board and am thrilled to finally make it over to the knitting board (where all the cool kids hang).  I am looking forward to many more knitting projects this winter, now that I am finally got back on my bike and learned to knit.  Sad to realize though, over seven months without a spouse, when he gets back, I will be lucky if the sex is just like knitting. Lips sealed
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5  Re: Crafting my sons lunchbox, at least trying to. in Recipes and Cooking Tips by BeltwaySpinner on: November 06, 2007 05:39:05 PM
Tomorrow's lunch:

-'Salchipapas' in his m&m thermos. 'Salchicha' is another Spanish word for sausage or hot dog. 'Papas' are simply potatoes. 'Salchipapas' is a popular dish for children in Bolivia, where my family is originally from. This was my sister's favorite meal when she was a kid. Really simple to make - think home fries with sliced hot dog. Seasoned only with salt and pepper. I used vegan hot dogs of course. 
-Walnut Brownie Mochi for dessert
-bottle of cranberry lemonade
-little toy puzzle from Halloween to amuse himself at recess
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6  Re: What to do with tofu? in Vegetarian / Vegan by BeltwaySpinner on: November 04, 2007 10:19:28 PM
I created this Vegan version of Palak Paneer for my  'Aspiring Popeye' who also happens to be obsessed with Indian food.  We eat Vegan 98% of the time.

Cut a tofu block into small cubes. 
Stir fry tofu and diced onions in canola oil (or another oil that doesn't add flavor) on MEDIUM heat.
Season HEAVILY with curry powder (until tofu is day-glo yellow).
Cook tofu until firm and onions are clear - but neither is browned (unless you like it that way).
Drain a can of spinach, add the spinach and stir fry an additional 3 minutes on medium heat.
(optional) You can add a dollop of margarine to the spinach to recreate the 'buttery-flavor' of the original recipe.
Dash of pepper and sea salt or garlic salt for flavor.

(My six year old son has a much higher threshold for seasonings and spicy hot flavors than I do.  I leave out cumin, chili, and bay leaves because I don't like them. But feel free to add them as they would make the dish more authentic.)

Serve over brown rice.
This is a VERY filling meal.  It feeds both of us generously and we have enough left over for lunch the next day.
*This photo contains a few shredded carrots that I added, simply because I had a tiny amount left over from another meal.

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7  Re: Craft My Theme Round 2 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by BeltwaySpinner on: October 31, 2007 10:05:42 PM
I know my Craftee has received, but I haven't heard from her in a few weeks, so I will post up what I made for her.

I choose her theme of 'new baby' as she is expecting her first child.

Based on her wist, I know she wanted one of those diaper changing pads with pockets for the diapers and wet wipes, but made with vinyl.  So Voila!  Flannel fabric, polarfleece edging and ties, with white vinyl interior.

Her wist also showed she liked sock monkeys, so I made this guy out of a new pair of soccer socks.  He is VERY VERY tall, but I love his long and lanky limbs.

Finally, continuing with the sock monkey theme, I did some simple appliques onto two plain white onesies.

I hope she liked everything.  Smiley

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8  Re: Crafting my sons lunchbox, at least trying to. in Recipes and Cooking Tips by BeltwaySpinner on: October 30, 2007 10:04:26 PM
Finally got a new camera and decided to post up my son's Halloween Bento.

Edamame Zombie on a bed of Brains & Bugs  (mashed potatos with raisins), Ten Toes (faux fish sticks), and animal crackers and a Skull lollipop.

He loves his Nightmare Before Christmas bento box set.

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9  Re: Craft My Theme Round 2 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by BeltwaySpinner on: October 29, 2007 08:28:14 PM
My crafter was the lovely and talented organizer herself: Ms. SevsOnlyGirl


Fairy Stamps set!  A fat quarter of fairy fabric!  some fairy badges now residing on my jean jacket!  some homemade lemony lip balm - yummy!  and two beautiful glittery pink handmade soaps with adorable buttons in the shape of fairy figurines inside.  A Prize inside my SOAP!!!  Oh bathtime will be sooo much fun!!!  I wish I could get a good picture of the soaps, but they just photograph as pink.

flannel Jammie pants!!! in the cutest fairy print!!!  I love love love these.  I will take advantage that my hubby is deployed to live in them full-time.  No teeny sexy nighties this winter... no Sir.  I will be toasty in these.  These are probably my favorite item.

Also she painted (and I think stenciled) a beautiful fairy onto a ready to hang canvas.  Fairy Art!  I have just the spot for this, on the wall of my fairy room!

Finally, a super awesome HOODIE with a fairy stencil.  In my fave color no less!  I will probably wear this more than the pj pants this winter, because at least I can leave the house in it.  Soooo comfy and warm and oversized and snuggly!

Thank you Thank you.  Not only did my partner pick the most fun theme, she gave me a broad assortment of goodies and used a lot of my favorite colors too!  

This is my second swap, and they just keep getting better.  Its been a busy month and I am happy to have some new 'de-stress' items to bathe with and lounge around in.

I was hoping to get some outdoor pics, but I didn't get home until after dark.  I was eager to put up some pics though, so I can start using my stuff!!!

Hooray!  thank you SevsOnlyGirl for a wonderful swap!!!  It will be years before I can hope to come close to your Crafting Greatness level, but you are an inspiration.
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