So after my obvious hiatus and some thought searching, I'm moving. Sites. I'm going to go about this as a professional. I got a real domain, I have web designers on my side and I'm actually creating a schedule and preparing. Id love to make this a full time gig, creating and designing fiber arts. Wether its sewing, knitting, and yarn. Or just sewing or vice versa. Either way the new site launches literally January 1st, and I will be creating a link once It's ready. So see you on the flip side!
I love spring, but I loathe spring. Spring and fall are my two favorite seasons but I loathe them both. I have horrible seasonal allergies and this year my body has been cruddy. I've been sick twice, the first being a sinus infection lasting 2 weeks during a busy time at work, and the second just started and my companies yearly bash did not help! No matter what anyone tells you alcohol does not kill the germs and make you feel better! I woke up with sinus pressure, and barely a voice.
I planned on going to work today, so far thats lasted about 2 hrs. I will be leaving shortly after this post, TGIF though. So now I am hitting a dilemma to knit sick or to sick sleep. I honestly feel horrible but I need to buy yarn and I was very much looking forward to knitting with the cool kids at natural stitches. But I'd also hate to make them sick too.
On other news I have two shawls in the works! Both are on Ravelry and about the same level of progress. The first is Holes to make Lace made by Caitlin Ffrench that I am knitting with Cascade 220's discontinued color Cabernet Heather. The second is The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People made by Sylvia Bo Bilvia and I'm knitting it with my first ever fingering weight yarn by Baah La Jolle in the color Brazilian Emerald! I plan on showing them off more on Wednesday during for work in progress Wednesday. So stay tuned!!!
Till then I'm going to go fall asleep knitting.
Oh blocking. Surprisingly I never learned to block a project until I started knitting. I had an old roommate Rachel Humbrecht (http://www.rhumbrecht.com) who was the first person who even mentioned blocking, after 3 years of crocheting, when I mentioned how a crochet scarf I had been working on was coming out really wonky. Shortly after I didn't finish that scarf and got absorbed into finishing college. But now that I picked up knitting I was reading about blocking.
Blocking for me is my favorite parts of knitting other then finishing the piece. For me this is like the victory lap of knitting. The piece in the photos is a ravelry pattern by Megan Goodacre, called New Bittersweet Cowl. I knitted this Malabrigo's worsted color charrua.
To start off I fill my sink with hot water but not scolding hot, you do not want to burn your hands! While the water is filling ad either some dish soap or some Soak knitting detergent. I found that there are different opinions on how long you should leave the item in the water, I leave my items in the water from 15-30 minutes. I made the mistake once of leaving a scarf in too long and the water got cold and made it difficult to block the scarf, also the scarf gained a musky smell, so I had to reblock the scarf.
Once 15-30 minutes have passed drain the water from the sink and gently press the water out of the knit. DO NOT WRING THE KNIT! It will warp your item. After pressing the water out of the item roll the item in a thirsty towel, I use my hot yoga, Yoga Rat towel because it sucks up water like crazy! To the point the knits almost dry! I then use an old soft wooden drafting board from college (other people use styrofoam, or the puzzle piece mats for kids) and a hand towel I wash between each blocking.
On each pattern there is a designated final size and these will be the measurements you need to follow. For the New Bittersweet Cowl the final measurements are 42 inches in circumference and 10 inches tall. Since this item was worked in the round it is blocked to half the height and folded. Also I took away one row of the repeat pattern away so I did not follow the final measurements. (I may re/do the blocking so I get a better definition for the openings as seen in the detail picture) So the final size of mine was 18 inches in half and 8 inches tall.
To then get your measurements use rust proof pins, pin the item starting in the corners to length. Then start pinning the center to width, and then every inch start pinning pinning to measurement. This is also where you can start adding scalloping edges also! And then once you have checked your measurements leave alone in the sun or a warm dry (if you can animal proof) place for at least 24 hrs. I found 12 hrs can work out but depending on the yarn, density, and size drying times are changeable. Unpin and Voila! You have a production shaped and finished item! Enjoy it!
Got a cool project you want to share? Email it to me! I'd love to feature it!
Do you ever find yourself in a rut? Or stuck on what to do next? But you feel like you have tons of ideas? I do, A LOT. And usually when I'm in a rut or need a new project all those ideas or projects I wanted to do are gone. Silly brain. But one of my favorite college teachers showed us a great thing. He had a note pad app on his phone and when ever he had an idea for a project, idea about a current project improvement, or just something he needed to be done for his career, he jotted it down. I took it very much to heart and started this bucket list of projects. Sadly not many have been taken off, especially the sewing ones, since I sew all day, and I don't feel like going home and sitting on a Juki for another 9 hours.
So during my last few hectic, crazy, lack of sleep, non-productive knitting and creative weeks, I thought about what I would do next. My queue on Ravelry.com is small but my project list is pretty big for only 3 months. My real life note book though is brimming with random thoughts and ideas. I'm going to share some of my ideas.
Thats maybe an 1/8 of what I want to do, and most of those revolve around knitting, I have tons more that are non fabric related!
So whats a lady (or gentlemen) to do?? Prioritize. Set dates. And be Realistic. I treat my home projects like they are work projects. I set Deadlines. I look at my skills, "Do I have the skill set yet to work on this project? Do I need to maybe take a class or find someone to teach me?" I then look at my budget. "Do I have the resources to finish this project with out spending money? If not how much do I need to spend? Can I break up the spending amount into chunks?"
My final thought before I leave it on my yearly project list is "Do I need this item/will this be a challenge?"
Ok an example, the knitted/crocheted ottoman, "Do I have the skills?" I have not crocheted in the round before, but I have in knitting. "Hows my budget?" I do not have any of the supplies for this project. I only buy yarn for projects I picked for the next two weeks to a month and a treat yarn to find a project just for that yarn. Buying yarn for that project would be at least a 40$ commitment and I do not have stuffing and thats 25$ there. Finally "Do I need this item/will this be a challenge?" It won't be a huge challenge for me and I don't really need this item. I have a foot rest already for no one to use except my cat who sleeps on it. So it gets bumped down to maybe next year or when I really need something to do and I'm running out of ideas.....sure.
These managing questions change for everyone, some people don't have to worry about a budget (so jealous of you!!) and some people work really fast through items and would have time to work on it. These just work best for me. I highly recommend figuring out what works for you so you can set project goals.
This is my list after I looked at everything on the list.
A lot of it is in the air but at least it gives me goals, and a time frame. I can save for the classes/Big projects but work on manageable items in the mean time.
I hope this helps you figure out what your going to work on next and maybe plan ahead for your fall/winter wardrobe and holiday gifts!! And maybe inspire you to work on a huge challenging project!! For me that will be the Koi blanket!! So much to tell!!!
Till next time!!
Yep you guessed it this is about bunny condos!! This is going to be a multipart little DIY series about making a bunny condo! Cause guys guess whos getting a bunny! Yep me! Before you ask if its for easter no, I strongly do not believe getting a rabbit in the spirit of easter is right. So many rabbits get let loose or abandoned because people don't realize how much work it really is to have a rabbit. I just happened upon a coworkers friend who's bunny's had buns and I've wanted a bun for a few years now. They are only 4 weeks old so I have a month to prepare!
So like any good designer I started researching. Not cages, rabbits. My coworker gave me books, I went to pet stores to look at supplies and I was flabbergasted by the price of cages!! 150$ for a 18.5"Wx32"Lx20"H!! just because it had those stupid junky wheels cheep computer chairs had, and a removable bottom for "easy" bed cleaning. And I am on a budget but the 50$ ones might as well been a small dog carrier. No room for a bunny to live! I know he/she is going to be little for a while but they grow fast!
On to stage two of researching! DIY bunny care items. I started to look at toys and treats, and then I found Budgetbunny.ca and she built a bunny condo that is 4 huge levels for a fraction of the price of the piddly habitats at retail pet stores! I read her blog, watched her cage tours, and then went to Pinterest. Ah the wonder of Pinterest and inspiration.
Now Im on a supplies man hunt! I've talked to two friends who both have built their own bun condos and both definitely recommended the NIC cubes. My one coworker even has a ton to give me! My friend Racheal recommends these little carpets that you can find at a Gabriel brothers here in pittsburgh, but I am thinking of some kind of tiling/laminate. I am going to use something other then the connectors for the cubes and I'm certainly not using zip ties, I have seen them fail and Im not risking my bun's safety.
Over the next few weeks I'll be gathering supplies for the condo and for my bun's comfort. So expect a Bunny Condo Tutorial soon!
To Pinterest and Beyond!!!
Happy Pi(e) Day! I have always been a bit of a math nerd, nothing like a mathematician, but I've always wished I could remember more of pi then 3.1415 but any who, we actually celebrate pi day at my work with nothing more fitting then a pie competition!! So I decided to enter for the sweet pie category.
I was going to make just a traditional pudding pie but decided to get CREATIVE!
The "Classic" Pudding Pie
-Total time: about 30 minutes
-Makes one pie
-Package of Betty Crocker's chocolate chip cookie mix
-Jell-o chocolate pudding mix (5.6oz)
-2 1/2 cups almond(regular)milk
-1/3 cup of softened butter
1-Mix the cookie mix as instructed.
2-Grease and flour a pie pan, then spread out cookie dough on the pan. TIP: Make sure the dough is thin!! like thinner then the chocolate chips! If crust comes out with no bowl use a spoon to create a bowl.
3-Bake in oven for 14-16minutes on 375degrees until golden.
4-Let cookie crust cool before adding pudding!! If the crust does over size and looses its bowl shape take a wooden spoon and gently press the center down to create the bowl of the pie crust.
5-Mix pudding and then add to the pie.
6-Use left over dough to make cookies.
7-Once you are about to serve crumble up cookies and spread on pudding, and add whipped cream.
I hope you enjoy all enjoy the recipe! I won second place(tied with a couple other people) for sweet pie!
If you make the pie or heck any pie for pi day send me some pictures I would love to post a post pi day post!
So I decided on Veridian by Cascade Yarns! It is a discontinued color but I had two skeins so I said what the heck! I started March 1st and finished knitting on the 8th. Not a bad time considering I am always working on 3 projects at once and work a full time job, if I do say so myself! So lets go ahead and get started with my first Pattern Review! This pattern is brought to you by Monique Gascon on Ravelry named "Woven Cowl." Her pattern recommended a worsted yarn (10ply) and using a US7(4.5MM) needle set. I did not gauge my cowl but her gauge just says 22 stitches, I guessed in a 4X4 swatch.
The pattern is great for beginners and knitters playing with depth perception. Even after blocking it has depth to the design. It's a simple back and forth of knits and purls with the pattern only being 8 rows long and repeats for 23 inches, then the button holes are added. the pattern ends on the 4 rows that include the button holes, but I added another 4 rows of knit just for some balance. The pattern calls for 4 buttons and the ones I used are a brass antique styled button I found at natural stitches in Pittsburgh. I picked up six because I'm a button hoarder and because there were not many left, I recommend always picking up extras, you never know when your going to loose the ones for your projects or what other project the spares could be used for.
The finished size blocked to the pattern at 11" X 24" and flattened but did not lose its depth. It definitely still gives the appearance of a woven basket.
Some alternatives that could be done to this pattern:
I am sure there are many more but by then you'd be drafting your own pattern and deviating far from Monique Gascon's.
Overall I give this project 5 stars! It was an easy project, had its mini challenges but no major speed bumps and I will definitely be making this cowl in different colors and possibly playing with the alternatives I suggested! It also is a versatile wear with all the button play!
If you use this pattern please post or email some pictures! I would love to start having a "Reader's Spotlight" where you get to share your projects so any project will do but I'd love to see what you all made with this pattern. Also put it on Ravelry so Monique Gascon can view them too!
Knit on Wayne!
So hair henna....where do I start!?
I've always been a blonde. ALWAYS. I hated my hair color when I was in middle and high school but no matter how much I begged my mom would never let me dye my natural blonde hair. And no wonder! Women pay thousands (including my mom) to get "natural" blonde hair every year. I realized this my freshman year of college when half my female friends couldn't remember their natural hair color or hasn't been able to get it back because their follicles were damaged. I began to cherish my hair and love when people pined over it wishing they could have my color. I really love my hair even though its a thick mess.
But I still always had this urge to change the color. Especially to red! I have a special love for redheads. Thats the color I pine over. Redheaded men are a huge weakness of mine also! So when Valentine's Day came around my lovely boyfriend treated me to some Lush goodies and since I've never been to the store he grabbed me their seasonal magazine to leaf through. I was glancing through it when the words Hair Henna popped out!
I immediately knew I had to get some! Its vegetarian like all their products and has no chemicals. Perfect! I've feared loosing my natural color that when something natural came around I was drooling.
The block was 26$ and with having short hair only two of the six chunks were needed so I have 2 more hair colorings in my future! ALSO the most amazing part!?! My Lush store did my hair for me!! FO FREE!! They will also do the next 2 colorings for free if I bring in my block!!! Only a few stores offer this so definitely call ahead, I just happen to be lucky that I went to one of the two stores in Pittsburgh that offers this service. A big weight off my boyfriends shoulders, since he was going to be applying the henna if they didn't haha!
It took 15 minutes for them to prep the henna, and then about 20 minutes for them to apply to my short thick hair. I then walked around the mall for 2 hours with saran wrap around my head. But after they washed and conditioned my hair, I felt amazing!! The henna also treats your hair really well, it has softened and added a great shine to my hair that has yet to disappear after a week of washes, and the color lasts for 3 months!
All in all I highly recommend checking out Lush's 4 colors and seeing if this is right for you, even though I'm sure it is! It's perfect for that hair DIYer that wants some natural organic in their hair! :) Above are my before and after pictures, one of my boyfriend and I's charming christmas pictures and literally right after, in the car.
The first version of the color blocked cowl has been completed! I say first version because I am not satisfied with the look of the first version of the pattern I created. With that being said I am already making another with a new and improved pattern. So lets talk about version 1! I love this yarn and I love the color contrast! the steel grey and the purple panic look great and are so stylish. The yarn also has some structure especially at the top with the knit, purl rows. I have not washed it yet so I will give an update on how the shape turns out. Once again this is 100% acrylic and can be washed. I've also learned that washing can help "block" the piece just not as precise as animal made yarns do.
The top left picture is the cowl before I joined it into a circular piece. As you can tell there is ALOT of purple, I only increased on the right side so that made it a very steep triangle, and not the style I wanted. I also had to do twice the amount of increasing on the grey to get to 100 stitches with out making this sucker huge.
The right picture is the way I join both flat pieces and my cast on stitches where I slip the right stitch to the left needle, and then slip on the second(original first left stitch) over and on the right needle. I then put my stitch marker on and go to work. I just find it to be a neater join, and theres no jumps!
This picture explains exactly why I am redoing the pattern and piece. I do not want the little bit of a cliff that happens in the grey. I want this piece to look like a square folded bandana, with that awesome a+b=c triangle. Anywho the new pattern edit with increased on both the right and wrong side should create a much subtle angle and there will also be NO cliff!! No one wants a cold neck either.*shakes head disapprovingly*
Below are just some fun pictures of the great contrast of the purple and grey and just as true to the purple panic as I could get with my iphone 4 camera. Also just my nosey cat wishing he could just lay on the cowl or fighting the urge to bat the needles.
Version 2 is still going to be made out of Universal Yarn's Uptown Worsted but with silver grey and bright salmon. I will definitely be making another purple panic but with silver grey cowl again with the new pattern.
In the mean time I did start the woven cowl! A post will be coming in the next few days to show which yarn I chose and also just some progress photos! I will also being posting 2.0 at the end of the week! Hopefully along with the pattern!!
SO MUCH EXCITEMENT! Knit on Wayne!
This Woven Cowl is from Ravelry.com and created by Monique Gascon (link below).
Im super excited to start this project! I have two skeins of two discontinued colors from Cascade Yarns, now just to decide which color! I'm also going to have to go through my button stash to find matching buttons that would also match the cowl. Maybe I'll have to go Natural Stitches and buy some interesting buttons! Haha!
These are the two yarns I'm debating between, Veridian and Cabernet Heather. I bought both of these because they are both gorgeous but now I'm in that stupid afraid to use them phase because they are discontinued colors. But I am leaning towards the Veridian, mostly because I think the stripes will be too busy with this pattern.
By the way! Natural Stitches is my favorite local yarn shop in Pittsburgh, and I highly recommend checking them out if your in the area, they have knitting, crocheting, and spinning supplies, groups, and classes!
So I will be posting some progress photos once I decide which yarn to knit! Happy Knitting!
Monique Gascon's Ravelry Site: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/monique-gascon