Sunday, June 29, 2014

Toadstool socks finished!

I finished the toadstool socks a few weeks ago, and I'm so glad they're done!  I'm really happy with how they turned out.  I conquered the fiddly yarn and poorly written pattern!

I will not, however, be wearing them.  They're too narrow for my feet.  I can easily get them on, but stretching them around my feet distorts the pattern.  I need someone with long, very narrow feet to give these away to ...

I still have some of the toadstool yarn.  I'm planning to use the kit leftovers for lead yarn on my spinning wheel, but I might knit a few preemie/newborn hats from the leftover patterned yarn. 

The yarn is Abi Grasso toadstool self-patterning sock yarn.  I ended up having to wing the pattern, since the one that came with the yarn was not workable at all - the directions said cast on 56 stitches, and only after reading the chart and trying to figure out why I couldn't for the life of me get the pattern to show up did I discover that the stitch count should be 52.  I didn't like how the sample sock looked with the striped heel flap and solid brown gusset, so I did an afterthought heel.  I also didn't like the lime green color yarn, so I used brown for all of the solid parts - luckily there was enough of the brown yarn in the kit.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

30 hour baby quilt ... and a knitted dog

Two weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, I checked the mail and found a birth announcement.  This baby's parents are college friends of Robert's, and on Saturday morning at breakfast I decided to make a quilt for him.  He is already 6 weeks old or so, and I really didn't want to add another long- or even medium-term project to my list, so I decided to make a strip quilt using fabric from the Hawthorne Threads scrap packs I got several months ago.  I started at about 11am, and in a few hours I had the fabrics and layout chosen and the strips cut.

I didn't have much of a plan on the strip widths.  I decided to make the quilt 45" long, so I figured out that with 15 fabrics, I needed their unfinished width to average 3.5".  I knew I wanted the fish and penguin fabrics to be pretty wide so the animals would feature prominently, so I made those quite a bit wider and the others narrower in varying widths, and kept track of the total length as I went along to make sure I was on track to hit the target.  I think it worked wonderfully!
I pieced together two pieces of Warm and Natural batting leftover from other projects, trimmed the top so it was about 32" wide, and quilted a line on each side of each seam.  It was super easy and fast!  I had all the quilting done and the quilt trimmed on Saturday evening.  Sunday morning I cut and pressed the binding before church, and when I got home I machine stitched it to the front and back.  I had one very ugly corner on the back, but I covered it up with the label.  Then it got a trip through the washer and dryer, and Huck helped me photograph it!  It was finished before dinner on Sunday afternoon.
This baby has a big sister, who is about a year and a half old.  When we moved in March, we sent our friends and family a postcard with our new address and a picture of Huck.  This little girl's dad told us that she really liked the picture of the dog an got excited about seeing it hanging on their fridge, so I decided to knit her a dog of her own as a big sister gift.  This is the labrador pattern from the book Knit Your Own Dog.  I knit it in a heavy worsted superwash merino that I've had in my stash for at least 5 years.  The yarn was a lot heavier than the recommended yarn, and I used up pretty much exactly the whole skein for the body, head, legs, ears, and tail.  Luckily I had a skein of grey, too, so I could give the doggie a belly that still pretty much matched.  I sewed up the seams (and there were many, for some reason I don't understand the legs and head are knit flat and then seamed) with black sewing thread.
I think the dog and the quilt turned out well, and I hope their recipients will enjoy them!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ginkgo Crescent Shawl

I finished knitting the Ginkgo Crescent Shawl last week and blocked it this morning. It came out really well!

I didn't think the increase scheme in the original pattern made sense (I'm pretty sure it would have given a triangular shawl, and people on ravelry were complaining about how difficult it was to block it into a crescent shape), so I looked at another crescent shawl pattern and pretty much just winged it.  I worried that I had overdone it, because it seemed really long on the needles and I ended up with a LOT more stitches than the Ginkgo pattern called for.

But I needn't have worried, because when I bound it off it was perfect! Not too long and skinny, just right for wrapping around your shoulders.  I think the recipient will like it a lot.

The finished dimensions are about 20" deep by 56" wide at the top edge, and I didn't use as much yarn as I expected.  The shawl weighs 50g dry, and I still have 43g of yarn left.  According to the yarn label, that means about 313yds.  I'm thinking I'll make another little shawl to give away!  The next one will probably be rectangular, maybe more like a lace scarf than a shawl.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Shirt refashion

 Yesterday I did some mending and refashioned a top that I bought several weeks ago on ThredUp.  I thought the fabric and styling were really cute (and the price was right, and it doesn't have the environmental or human impact of a new piece of clothing!) but it was too big. 
Here are the before pictures, front and back.  It was really baggy and the neckline was shifting and gaping all over the place.  I thought about taking in the sides, but it's a woven (non-stretch) pullover style, so I was worried about still being able to get it on and off, and it has pockets and a bottom hem band that I didn't want to mess with.  I would have probably also needed to take in the shoulders to raise the neckline, and I was afraid to mess with the tulip sleeves.

 Instead I decided to take the easy way out and put in an elastic casing in the back.  This idea was inspired by the Washi dress and Josephine top by Made by Rae.  I pinned in a makeshift casing on the outside to audition elastic length and location - you can see that in the top photo.  Then I cut a piece of white fabric to 1.25" by the width of the shirt back plus one inch (21" in this case), pressed the edges under, and stitched it to the inside of the shirt back, just under the armscyes. Here is the after.  It is still kind of baggy - there's no way to change the style of the shirt, and that's okay with me.  But I no longer feel like I'm swimming in it, and the neckline stays in one place now, close to my chest.  Robert says it even almost looks like it's supposed to be this way, so I'm counting it as a success!

I'm not counting this as a start or a finish in my running counts.