Monthly Archives: February 2011

Bathroom makeover – crochet bathmat

My husband Dan and I bought our first house last year at the end of February, and the upcoming anniversary of our move has prompted a rash of home improvement fixes of the “What do you mean, you never finished the (insert project name here)?” type.

Our bathroom needed major work when we moved in: new flooring, new
shower surround tile, new drywall, new paint, new cupboards. We’ve been
working on it in fits and starts, but in the last two or three months
we’ve finally gotten to the point where we could start thinking of
comfort or style instead of just function. I found a cotton voile print that I really liked and put it up over the existing linen curtain as a temporary fix, but ended up liking it so much that I wanted to pull the colors into the rest of the room.

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Sockhead Hat

I’ve been trying to actually use my handspun instead of, well, hoarding it in bins. I tend to treat my handspun as a finished project instead of like yarn to be knit (or crocheted, or woven), and it’s starting to overtake my craft room.

This yarn was one of my very first handspun skeins. I had some undyed superwash merino roving that I had gotten from a friend, and I tried dyeing it using the instructions I found on the Yarn Harlot’s blog. I was nervous about the roving floating apart and the colors mixing into a muddle, so I chose these instructions because they involved stuffing the roving into pantyhose in order to keep it from moving around in the pot. I used squeeze bottles filled with Jacquard dye solution to paint the roving (right through the old pantyhose), wrapped the weird sausages in plastic wrap, then steamed them over boiling water.

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Yarn in progress

I’ve been dyeing a ton of fiber lately! I think it’s because the weather has been so cold, dyeing just seems like a way to make Crafty Soup. :)

I’m a big fan of our Bare Wool of the Andes fiber for a couple of reasons. First, it’s really easy to spin because the Peruvian wool is a little grippy and lets you control it easily. Next, it comes in 100g bundles which are the perfect size for the bobbins on my Kromski Polonaise – I know that one bundle will fill one bobbin perfectly. Finally, it’s really inexpensive so I can mess around in the dye pot and try strange and/or challenging blends of colors without worrying about being out a pile of cash.

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Bits and pieces

When my sister returned from a trip to England last November, she sent me a ball of natural wool that she picked up as a gift. Did I mention that my sister does not knit? The single ball of yarn was your big hint. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister and I love that she thought of me. But, a single ball of heavy worsted yarn does provide a bit of a challenge. No wonder it had been sitting in my stash until a couple of weeks ago when the son of a dear friend asked me to knit him a hat. Bingo!

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Needle organization idea

Just a little shout-out to Ravelry user halesje (Ravelry link) who had a clever idea for organizing DPNs.  She found a makeup brush organizer in clear acrylic that looks great with our Knit Picks interchangeable needle stand and filled it with her DPN collection.  I liked the look of it so much I went ahead and ordered the same brush organizer for my own craft room.  It’s now sitting on a shelf next to my three …

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Good For Goodness’ Sake

Funny Alisha mentioned hats and charity in her last post – those two
things are near and dear to me! In fact, at the end of January, I
shipped off 25 little baby hats to a local medical charity.

All of these hats are made out of Swish Worsted (except for three – one in Stroll and two in Comfy). They are super simple, quick and cute,
and use only a little yarn. All of the yarn for these was scraps from
other projects that would have been destined for the garbage or a long,
lonely wait in some random scrap bin. But, I saw other potential in the
yarn. Even a few grams would be enough for a stripe in a hat this small!

Over the last few years, I’ve slowly amassed a pretty good collection of
these scraps, and have found that charity knitting is the perfect use
for them.

Got scraps? Keep reading for a free baby hat pattern!

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There’s a lot of hats being made around here

When I took this job at Knit Picks, I knew pretty instantly that
knitting was going to quickly become one of my new favorite hobbies. 
Since completing my first hat a couple of weeks ago, I have already made
another one and started on a third.  The first two were just my way of
testing my skills and trying out new stitches.  Because they are a
little too big for my head, I have decided to donate them to charity in
hopes that they will keep someone else’s slightly larger head warm in
this winter weather.  The one that I am working on now is the first one
that I am using a pattern on and I am really excited to see the end
result. 

In case you didn’t see a picture of my first hat on our Facebook page, here’s what it looked like:

I unfortunately haven’t captured a good picture of my second hat yet but here is what it looked like in the process:

My third hat is a cloche pattern that I got from Ravelry.  The pattern link is here: Cloche Hat
So far, I have just completed the brim section but I hope to get a good start on the body of it tonight.

My new-found love for knitting is starting to rub off on others in
the office and a couple of people have even stepped up and finished
projects that they were working on for quite some time now…

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Checklist for a perfect project

I know I am going out on a limb because each knitter has his or her own set of parameters. But, as I finished my Lace Ribbon Scarf I realized it was one of my absolutely perfect projects. Here is my checklist –

1) Easily obtainable instructions - right from Ravelry. I was able to use my Google Documents app to make the PDF file show up on my phone whenever I wanted to check the lace pattern

2) Memorizable pattern – it didn’t take long for me to be able to read my previously knit stitches to tell where I was in the pattern.

3) High quality yarn – our Chroma yarn is delightfully soft as it flows through your fingers, it makes a fabric that is decadently soft and the color play as the lace pattern travels back and forth was mesmerizing.

4) Quick to knit – don’t get me wrong, I love challenging projects like lace shawls or colorwork sweaters. But, those don’t fall under my category of “absolutely perfect”.

5) Easy to give away – that’s right! A friend was admiring this scarf as I was knitting it. I loved that I didn’t hesitate for a moment before I offered it to her as a gift. I enjoyed knitting it and I knew she would love it day after day after day. 

6) My fingers are itching to cast on another potentially “absolutely perfect” project – and I think I’ve found it. Using my other ball of Chroma Fingering weight yarn in Sunrise. And, I will only need one ball because it has nearly 400 yards in the 100 gram ball. The pattern for this shawlette.

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