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1  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Russian Leaves on: August 17, 2017 06:06:22 PM
I discovered knit designer Katya Gorbacheva on Ravelry, and after I did a KAL of a small shawlette of hers, I thought Id try something a little more ambitious.  Since I dont really like tiny needles, I went with the Forest Haze shawl.  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/forest-haze-shawl

I wanted something that looked like sun-dappled leaves, but I couldn't find or afford the right yarn.  So I bought two skeins of Cascade EcoWool and dyed it myself.  I soaked the yarn in vinegar water, then laid it in a large disposal aluminum pan.  I mixed up several shades of green and blue Rit dye, and essentially painted it on the yarn .  I weighted it down then popped the whole pan in the oven for about 20 minutes.  I cant find the pictures I took of the dyeing process, but heres one of caking it.  That was quite a process, too!

I wouldnt call it a quick knit, but its a lovely pattern, very simple and intuitive.  (And very forgiving of the occasional mistake!)

This is the unblocked shawl spread out on a double bed a better look at the color, altho you can also see the second skein got a bigger hit of blue!

And just for scale, heres me holding the shawl; its over 7 from tip to tip!

Its so big I can wrap it around me on the outside of my coat!

2  KNITTING / Knitalongs / Knitted Knockers Knitalong for Breast Cancer survivors! on: September 14, 2016 10:40:04 AM

Last year I was introduced to the idea of knitted... bewbs  Shocked ... for breast cancer survivors.

Sounds crazy, right?  But it turns out that knitted prosthesis are not only a thing, they're a really good thing!

Traditional silicone prosthesis are heavy, hot, expensive... and they don't get better with age.  They can irritate sensitive skin and healing muscles.  But the knitted versions are lightweight, soft, you can toss them in the wash when needed and even have a wardrobe of them for special occasions.  (White for your kids' confirmation, business beige for work, scarlet for a night on the town!) Plus, they're handmade, and we all know there's a little healing power in everything crafted by human hands.

I made a dozen last year, and I'd like to make just as many this year.  I'd love to have some company!

This website has several different options; knit one-piece, two-piece, flat, on DPNs, even crochet.  I'm not a terribly fast knitter, but I can easily do a C cup in 3-4 nights of TV watching.

Anyone interesting joining me?


3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / From curbside to fireside - a rocking adventure.... on: August 19, 2016 04:30:51 PM
Almost two years ago, when I was home for Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law suggested I take my parents van for a little spin a few blocks over, that I might find something in the neighbors trash to interest me.  And did I ever.

Doesnt look like much?  This is after I finished pulling off the dusty shreds of blood-red leather and gave the rocker a bit of a bath.  It seemed sturdy, had nice lines, and I figured it could be a low-risk way to learn something about restoring furniture.  There was a faded label on the inside of the chair that it came from The Scott Chair Company of Newark, Ohio.  I dont know how old this chair is, but I can find no record of this company aftr about 1913. 

I introduced myself to an area carpenter who does a lot of creative furniture and furniture repair.  He let me use his shop and his tools, and gave me advice.  I went in once a week, and put in a few hours before work.  (I always brought a plate of home baked goods, and we never talked about money) First step was tightening up a few joints, replacing a spring and then sanding down the whole thing.  (Mostly by hand!)

Turns out the chair is quarter sawn oak, with lots of lovely rays and flecks in the wood.  I stumbled around for a while, blending stains (and leaned my lesson about not testing stain in a visible spot!)  Finally came up with a color I liked and applied it, topped off with six (six!) coats of finish, each applied, sanded and rubbed down. 

The carpenter said he didnt know much about upholstery, but he did give me nudges now and then when I started to go wrong.  Between books from the library and YouTube videos I felt my way along.  Took two days and several broken fingernails to get the springs tied 8-ways with linen twine, but it was fun!

I didnt go the whole nine yards, with horsehair stuffing, but I put down a layer of batting, before nailing in the webbing.  And nailing.  And nailing. And nailing

A layer of high density foam over the webbing, and then a layer of muslin over that (plus webbing, padding, muslin and the final fabric on the back!)

I couldnt find the nailheads I wanted, and there was a misstep with some awful light colored gimp that had to be laboriously removed, but finally.


Im so pleased with how the chair turned out.  I love the fabric and the way it compliments the stain, and the way the stain highlights the rays and flecks in the oak.

When I first took the chair to the carpenter, he told me he could refinish it for a couple hundred dollars.  I estimate I spent about $100 on supplies and at least that in ingredients for pies, cakes, and cookies for the shop but I gained sooooo much more in the process.

And now, I have another curb find to work on.

Stayed tuned! 
4  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Chutes and Ladders...and Chutes on: January 07, 2016 03:14:37 PM

Finished my first project in 2016, altho' I've been working on this baby blanket for some time.  (The baby is due next week!)  The pattern is from a book called "wanderlust: Modern Bohemian knits" and the pattern is "Chutes and Ladders" after the old kids game.  I modified it a little; flipping one of the cable panels so the diagonals mirror each other.

It was a surprisingly easy pattern, quickly memorized, altho' next time I'll make it in superwash wool rather than my usual cheapo yarn.  Pairing it with a cotton blanket I made some time ago that I happened to name "Duck Duck Goose". 

It's all fun and games until someone has to take a nap... Grin

5  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Blue glass plant cutting containers on: September 21, 2015 03:09:33 PM
Not sure if this is the right place, or even if this qualifies as a craft but I am so pleased with how it looks, I had to share it!

If you grow indoor plants, you rarely have enough sunny window space, right?  I strike a lot of  cuttings, and ewas looking for something a little more artful than a row of bottles on the window sill.  Like a row of bottles on the window frame!

I started out with a few single serving-size wine bottles in blue glass from the recycling, and a couple of copper plated bell-hangers from the plumbing department of the big box hardware store. ($1.49 each.)

The screw that came with the hanger was reeeeeeally long, so I replaced it with one that only went about into the molding.  (Full disclosure; I own, and this is not original, historic molding.  I might have done this differently if I had a landlord, or this was other than cheap pine.)

I love the way the glass, the copper and the plants look together, especially when the light shines through the window.  And I still have the sill open for plants in pots!
6  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / "Hearts in Snow" on: August 17, 2015 07:39:41 PM

I have a young friend that Ive made a blanket for every year of her life.  (Shes turning six this year, so its not as impressive as that sounds.)  But theyve all been small blankets, and now shes a big girl.  So, this year I made her Hearts in Snow.

I think I heard the phrase somewhere, and then envisioned the blanket, or at least the image and the name came close together.  Its a very simple pattern, mitered diamonds in garter stitch, with red partial diamonds in stockinette.  Far from the largest blanket Ive knit (this is 44 x 63) once I figured out how to do the hearts it was teeeeeedious.  I put it aside a million times in favor of more interesting projects.  And Im so glad its done.  Er nearly done.

I either have to line it, or finish weaving in all the ends.  I wove in the ends for the first third of it, but Im really dreading doing the rest.  Sewing in a lining eliminates the need for that, and does make the blanket stronger.  But Ive never been really pleased with the job I do sewing in a lining Id appreciate any tips!
7  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Commemorative travel bags! on: January 24, 2015 03:56:34 PM
My younger sister does a lot of international travel for work, and 2014 was particularly busy.  Leafing thru Mary Jane Mucklestone's 150 Scandinavian Motifs I started picking different images for the different countries she'd gone to.  Owls, for Greece.  Flying horses, for Kazakhstan.  And a row of dancing women for the girls program in Malaysia.  And I started dreaming... of a sweet little laptop cover....

When you have an idea, you can't wait to get started.  I didn't have fingering yarn, or sport yarn, and any "nice" yarn at all.  I did have two skeins of Red Heart, in a rich gold and intense scarlet.  So, I started.  Just a swatch, you know.  Just to see if the idea would work....  

I quickly realized that this was going to make a way taller bag than I had imagined, and - unless I made it about the size of a pillow case, I wasn't going to be able to get all three motifs in one bag.  And by that point I was 8" into the first bag, so I wasn't about to stop....

I wished I'd used a softer yarn, but these turned out quite nicely as bags to hold special trinkets or sundries in your luggage.  Still in the process of putting in their linings, but I wanted to share.  This is the second bag I made, and I made a hem at the top, which will help when I put in the zipper.  I love this motif the best!

This is a fairly flat bag; altho not as flat as I mean it to be.  I started by knitting a rectangle for the bottom, and knitting from the bottom up.

This is actually the bag I made first, when I was still under the illusion I would get all these motifs in on one bag.  This was knit from the top down.  (If I did it again, I would knit a pearl row and fold over a hem.  Live and learn.)

I didnt get the bottom of the bag quite the way I wanted it I was going for something like a paper bag bottom, and I didnt decrease quite fast enough.  But this is not too bad!

My sister has lots more travel on tap for 2015 - maybe this time I'll acually *pick* the yarn!
8  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / New Throw Pillows on: September 04, 2014 03:39:56 PM
And all from stash!  I used up some partial skeins of Bernat's Mosaic, some Vanna White natural, and backing made from a drop cloth I've been cutting up and using in everything.

The first two are a simple diagonal, and a mitered pattern in garter stitch, nd have a kinda cool optical effect.

The third is a honeycomb stitch from (I think) Barbara Walker, and I really love the texture.

Now that I have new throw pillows, I need to recover the sofa.  And paint the living room....
9  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / An improved plastic planter on: September 04, 2014 02:53:10 PM
Last summer, my neighbor pulled a cheap plastic planter out of the trash and presented me with it for my yard.  I thought it was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen, and ducked the issue every time she asked about it.

But the more I looked at it, the more I realized, it actually had nice lines.  And it was a nice height.  So, two cans of textured faux stone paint and some quick growing bedding plants later....

... I'm actually proud to have it in my garden!

And I'm looking for some more....
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Inexpensive raised garden bed -- picture-rich! on: September 04, 2014 10:51:32 AM

Ever since I moved to this house, I have wanted to put in a raised garden bed along the backside of neighbors garage, to create a little more gardening space. I priced stone, but realized that anything even marginally nicer than cinder block would cost a pretty penny not to mention being a PIA to transport the stone in my tiny car.  I had almost resolved to spend the money when I thought of landscape timbers.  Cheap, ($3.25 an 8 length) easy to find, easy to work with, and easy to pick up and carry.  (Which became even more of an issue this summer as I developed spinal arthritis and carpal tunnel.)  I havent filled it all in and planted it yet, but Im so pleased I cant tell you!  But Ill try

Altho it was about 2 months from first design to completion, it really took only 4-5 afternoons.  Part of the challenge was finding 9 timbers at the box store that werent bowed, cupped, bent or split.  I borrowed my brother-in-laws Sawz-all and cut 12 2-foot sections.  Then I cut a notch in one end of each of the short lengths, and notched both ends of 6 full length ones.  

Safety first; always wear protective eyewear, and have proper feline supervison.

The space the bed occupies is half on concrete, half on soil, so I excavated where the short lengths of the U would rest and put in a layer of gravel.  Probably unnecessary, but couldnt hurt.  Using 4 decking screws, I put 3 in each of the long timbers, one in each corner join, and one additional screw in each of the short legs, screwing each layer to the previous one.

When I got to the fifth and penultimate layer, I stapled in a triple thick layer of landscape cloth inside the bed, running the bottom end of it across the concrete and pinning it into the soil.  Will keep the soil from running out the cracks, and perhaps keep the soil moister longer.

Had to bring in a secondary supervisor.

I worried about frost heave, and soil slump eventually pushing the U-shaped frame away from my neighbors garage, and initially thought about bolting it to the cement foundation with L-brackets and masonry screws, but ultimately came up with a more elegant (and less destructive) solution.  Towards the end of each of the shorter legs, where the wood rested on soil, I drilled a 5/8 hole.  Then I took a 2-foot length of rebar, pounded down about 8-10 inches into the soil, to hold the frame in place.

I knew rain would run down that hole, creating more possibility for rot, so I made sure the rebar stuck up only about 2 from the top of the fifth course.  Then I drilled the hole only halfway thru the final row, from the underside.

That way, when I screwed the final course into place theres no hole for the rain to dribble in!

The final bed is 8wide by 2 deep and almost 18 deep, with just enough room to tuck the recycling cart in.  I know it wont last forever; the wood will start to rot eventually.  But at less than $40 for the whole project, I can afford to replace it 5-6 years down the road!

Now to fill it with soil and plant it out!  Thanks for looking.
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