Friday, December 31, 2010

Progress: Afternoon of the 30th (in Japan)

A few more hours left...


Panhandles (x2)

Husband Hat 

One Sock - Halfway through the foot of the second Worsted Weight sock, so will be done soon.

Blue Sock - Just needs one end woven in and a wash.

Bibs - Need buttons, as soon as they're dry.

Pocket Creatures - Technically I also started the other two pairs by making the inner warming bag, but I'm not really counting that until I cast on.  Which I won't do for at least a couple of days.  The one that I'm supposed to finish still needs features, finishing work, and stuffing.

Heart Box - Sitting on the table in front of me...I need to get the foam pieces out to pin it onto while I get it going.

Knitting Tools Case - I know how to do it.  Just a bit of cutting and some straight lines sewn is all it needs!  20 minutes or less!

Small Knitting Tools Case - Needs a button sewn on and the nifty pincushion bit sewn in.

Box Bag - Totally frivolous project, but also finished.  Of course, the moment I said I was going to finish everything I'd already started in 2010, I had to start something brand new.  I think I suffer horribly from this phenomena:

Unders - Still may need some sort of edging around the legs, but are done for now.  I'll have to wear them a few times to decide if they need something more or not, and I cannot wait!

Lady Sunshine Test - Not even touched.  Probably won't be the first FO of 2011 because I still have a couple more things that have to go to family to finish up, and I really, really want to cross stitch.

Five down, 12 to go, eight of which will take less than an hour total.  Still do-able!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Final Countdown

of 2010 at least.

To go along with counting how many WIPs were started and finished in 2010, I'm trying to finish all projects but the blanket that were started in 2010 by New Year's Eve.  Right now (morning of the 29th) it stands at fourteen projects.  I do need to start one more, because I'd rather just finish all the baby bibs together, but that's a quick one and won't take long.  So fifteen total to finish in the next couple of days.  Do-able.  Totally do-able.

I really mean it this time!


Panhandles (x2) (finished afternoon of the 29th) - They're in the wash right now, going through their third felting cycle.  Should be their last, too, and then they're done.

Husband Hat - Needs end woven in and a wash/block, so will be done when I block all the things that need blocking.

One Sock - Halfway through the foot of the second Worsted Weight sock, so will be done soon.

Blue Sock - Just needs one end woven in and a wash.

Bibs - I need to knit one full one plus the strap of another, then weave in ends and block five.  They only take a few hours each, nice quick knit.  Cute Stitch buttons I already have will finish them off.

Pocket Creatures - I started one of the three pairs I need to send home, so I've got to finish that pair before January.  The knitting is done, they just need features, stuffing, and finishing work.

Heart Box - This is one of those paper-based baskets that really aren't that difficult, but are really fiddly to get going.  This one especially because it's a heart shape instead of a simple rectangle.  It will be good as a break from the knitting.  Most of the items on here that require actual knitting are out of thicker and not-so-nice yarns, like the cotton bibs and acrylic blend socks (why is the brown stiff when the blue was so gosh darn nice?), and I would rather not kill my arms just to get them done.

Knitting Tools Case - I have in mind what I'll be doing, and a working sewing machine to do it.  I also have a cheap-o little dollar store kit that makes pretty much exactly what I have in mind, but has instructions.  I'll probably do that one first, since it should be quick, instead of totally winging it for the case and failing.  Adding another project...

edit evening of the 29th - I made a box bag too.  And since I was doing the innards of the first Pocket Creature, I did the innards of the other two also.  I'm trying to pretend it doesn't count as starting them.

Unders - I can't believe I started these this year, but they just need a bit of a rip and re-knit.  This is the one that is a hope more than a definite, because the new numbers may or may not work.  We'll see.

Lady Sunshine Test - Not a 2010 WIP, but Lee said to make up for the blanket, I should finish something else this year.  I already finished a bunch of older WIPs, but, if I finish the rest of the list early (not likely), this will be my project for the rest of the year, and probably my first FO of 2011 because my hands are cold!

So really, not that bad.  The apartment is pretty clean and organized, I'm on vacation, no reason not to finish this list.  15 13 must-dos, 1 will-do, 1 should-do - not too bad.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Knitty's Dead or Alive Fish Hat is adorable.  I love it.  I wanted to knit it for someone, and Lee and I both agreed that his father would be the perfect recipient.  If he really likes it, I can make the matching scarf next year!


Yarn: Patons Classic Wool, Teal, Royal Purple, and Orange.
Needles: US7/4.5mm
Timeframe: November 24 - December 15, 2010.
Mods: Just one big one.  I picked up the wraps, did the colors how I wanted, and knit the tail as one piece rather than two with seaming.  Check out my Ravelry project for more technical details.
Problems: None.
 I love the eyes on the fish hat - they're so adorable and came out so well!  I am typically very bad at free-form art, though I'm obviously improving on that, as you can see from the perfectly spaced, perfect "X" within a perfect circle of the eyes here, and as you'll see with my Nuno felting post.  I am so, so proud of how well these came out.  I am in no way an artist, not artistic at all, and mostly drawn to not the art but the utility and complexity of knitting and having form follow function rather than having the design be the main goal.  Socks with an interesting construction or pattern that happen to look totally awesome as they warm feet?  Perfect!  A shawl to keep me warm in the winter with an intricate pattern?  Sign me up!  Freeform knitting or crochet?  Not so much.  Painting (other than paint-by-numbers) or embroidery, especially freehanded?  Nope, can't do it!  If you'd asked me a few months ago, I'd've put needle felting and Nuno felting into the can't do it without explicit instructions and a pattern pile, but it seems as though one can, in fact, learn such skills.  Pretty rockin' if you ask me.

It's amazing to me how many different projects I constantly have going on all at once.  I don't just mean the WIP count, where half of them don't get touched, I mean how many projects I work on at the same time.  I started the Christmas Socks on the same day that I started this hat, and blocked them on the same day too, and neither were sitting around waiting for blocking for too long.  I also knit at least one baby bib in that timeframe.  The only reason this one isn't finished on the same day is because it had the extra embellishments of the eyes to deal with.  I knit the first Blue Sock, then knit almost the entire pair of One Sock since they were going quickly (until I lost a needle), as well as most of the Husband Hat before heading back to the Blue Sock.  I know that this is how I work best in every aspect of life, bouncing from one thing to another and then finishing everything all at once at the same time, but it feels less fulfilling since all the successes come as one major success rather than small victories spaced around.  Makes me almost want to start being a bit more project monogamous.

That's probably never going to happen though.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Crocheting with Thread

It's actually not bad.  I enjoy it.  My gauge changes wildly however, so if I were to ever do something large out of crochet with thread, I'd have to make sure to have a warm-up project so I could check my gauge before starting on the main one.  I've recently made not only the snowflakes, but a few bookmarks as gifts.  I made one out of the incorrect sized thread before getting correctly sized thread and making a lot more.

Pattern: Fan Bookmark
Yarn: Daiso Cotton Lace Yarn #20
Hook: Steel US8/1.25 mm
Timeframe: November 10 - 19, 2010
Mods:  None.
Problems: Only reading comprehension and using the wrong yarn to start with.

Pattern: Fan Bookmark
Yarn: Daiso Cotton Lace Yarn #40
Hook: Steel US8/1.25 mm
Timeframe: November 11 - 19, 2010
Mods:  None.
Problems: None!

They're all stiffened with sugar as per this site's recommendations.  None of them are sticky, and I left the dangly bits dangling.  I did make two more with the correct thread, but sent them off to recipients before realizing I hadn't photographed the rest.  Whoops!  They're all pretty much the same though, not missing much here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

More Snowflakes!

I made some kinda cheesy little glue gun snowflakes the other day.  This is actually a pretty good project for babysitting, snow days, or just something to do with kids.  Which is why I, an adult, did it all by myself.

All you need is a glue gun, this snowflake printed out at approximately 3" in diameter, glue for your glue gun (preferably sparkly), wax paper, and clear wire (jewelry making or fishing line) to hang them with.

Step 1:  Print out your snowflake and cut it out.  Or, print out a whole bunch on one sheet of paper.  Lay it on the counter, lay some wax paper over it, and tape down the wax paper a bit.  Not too much, you want to be able to move the snowflake pattern under it, so just a small piece of tape on two of the edges is fine.

Step 2:  Using your glue gun with the glitter glue sticks if you can find them, fill in half of the snowflake.  This particular pattern is good because the lines are about the perfect size for filling in with a glue gun.  Fill in only half, starting with the centerline.

Step 3:  Once they are hardened, peel the snowflake halves off of the wax paper.  Run a line of glue along the centerline of one piece, and attach a second at approximately a 60 degree angle.  Do this for all of your pairs, three pairs per snowflake (six halves).

Step 4:  Now glue three snowflake wedges together to form a full snowflake.  Glue a hanging string (clear wire) so you can hang the snowflakes.  Make sure to pull off as many of the stringy bits as you can.  These are great as Christmas gift bobbles, even if they aren't the most amazing of craft projects.

Step 5:  If you are using glitter glue, make sure to run your glue gun until no more glitter comes out.  You don't want to be surprised next time you go to use it.  Make a few more snowflakes, I got two nice lightly-glittered ones and I used the two dark snowflake halves as window stickers.  They stick nicely on their own.

Voila!  Snowflakes!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Crocheted Snowflakes

Here's a bunch of FOs:

I made seven large snowflakes and six small.  I diluted some Elmer's glue with water, and learned that it was best to dunk each one in glue, wash of my hands, then pour on some glitter, turn it over and get the other side, and then pin it out.  Trying to glue, glitter, and pin each snowflake separately was a very messy experience.

I think they turned out well.  Most of them I gave to my school's RoboCon team to decorate their robot.  Their robot was Santa-themed, so very Christmasy and I wanted to add to the holiday cheer.  Also, sparkles!  Who can say no to sparkles?!

Pattern: Snowflake Bookmark (Rav), 6 Snowflakes
Yarn: Daiso Cotton Lace #20
Hook: 1.8 mm/US 6 steel hook
Timeframe: November 12 - 19, they're quick!
Mods: I finished the snowflakes instead of making them into bookmarks.
Problems: None.

Pattern: Lacy and Open Snowflake (Rav), 7 Snowflakes
Yarn: Daiso Cotton Lace #20
Hook: 1.8 mm/US 6 steel hook
Timeframe: November 12 - 19, they're quick!
Mods: None, except changing the hook and thread sizes.
Problems: None.

It gets lost in my current tree, but I love it anyway.  I have one large and one small snowflake hiding amidst the pink ornaments on my little tabletop tree.
RoboCon Robot
 For more info on the RoboCon robot, see the Regionals post and the Nationals post over at my Japan blog.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Down to the wire...

...and I go and do something not-Christmas-gift-related.  I spent an evening making washable pads.  Yes, those things.  I'm serious.  I'm that crunchy granola sometimes.

I've been wanting to make some for years.  I dislike creating waste, and like to find ways to make less of it. This may not be a world-changing act or one that will have a major impact on anything really, but I feel that it's a good thing.  Much more comfortable than disposable alternatives too!


I made them from this site.  I used some bargain-bin fleece, as the only other options were plaids with at least one stripe a shade of puke, and a towel we got when we went to some onsen or other.  My only recommendations are to use the zipper foot when seaming the outside and inside as well as for the topstitching, and to make the wings a bit wider.  Also be absolutely sure the snaps (if you're using them) are secure because that's just not something you want to be worrying about.  I also tried weighting the pattern and using my rotary cutter to cut multiple pieces at once, and let me tell you, that is an awesome, awesome trick for making things like this.  There are two fleece pieces each, so four total, and I cut them all out at once.  There are four towel layers each, and I was able to cut out all eight layers, using up pretty much the entire (very thin) towel, at once as well.  Excellent.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ah, Christmas!

That time of year where the WIP count slowly creeps up, and then shoots back down once I've blocked things.  I was happy with the amount of yarn used, hoping maybe I could get under 40,000 yards of yarn in Japan by the end of the year, and then I realized that I haven't actually put all of my yarn into Ravelry.  Most of it, yeah, but not the stuff that's in my WIP basket (hello 5,000+ yards of WW for a huge blanket), and not the bag o' Patons Classic Wool that I brought back from the US this past summer.  Entering most of that gets me up to 48000 yards, nearly 28 miles of yarn.


I am going through a bit of my roving for Nuno felted scarves.  The plan is to make eight of these as gifts.  Thus far, three are sent out, two are finished, and the final three are designed, but still in component parts.

I'm also working on a bit of baby knitting for my first nephew, since the shower will be roughly a week or two after Christmas.  May as well send it all in one package, even if it does make the Christmas stuff a touch late!  The baby stuff is mostly done since it's mostly easy-peasy don't-need-to-focus knitting.  I finished off some blue recycled cotton that I had no idea what to make with for a baby blanket and a matching burp cloth.  I used up a bunch of kitchen cotton on a few bibs for the baby (and a biscuit blanket I took to a Thanksgiving dinner potluck), and I've got enough leftovers from the first set of Sneaker Booties to make another pair for this little guy.  Lots and lots of presents for the new baby, all patterns I know and love, and only buttons to buy!

Thus far, I've sent out all of my cards, finished the in-laws' gifts and sent all those out, but am a bit behind with my family's presents.  I'm going to blame it on the baby shower gifts.  Even though we all know I'd probably be as behind without those too.

Must get back to knitting!