Year of Projects: Week 40

Witty Caption Here

WOW. I only have 12 more weeks left of my first YOP. Dang. This last week brought a lot of doing, but not much knitting. I finished a tiny concept hat: it works. I need to test it out on and actual baby to see if its appropriately sized. I forget how tiny real newborn baby humans are. I’m working on an adult size, but with fingering held double- I want to finish in this lifetime!

Little 10-stitch Hat.

I’ve been plugging away on a “4-Corners of the Cro-pacalypse” (working title) C2C baby blanket. I’m in the home stretch, still haven’t taken a single picture. *facepalm*

This past weekend, my best friend since college got married. It was about 2 hours away, and the drive was STUNNING. I NEVER miss the opportunity to stop at the Sideling Hill Rest Area when I take I-68 in MD. Partly the view. Partly the toilet facilities. And climbing a huge flight of stairs is a nice way to stretch your legs on a drive!!

It was a mini-get-a-way without the family, that was SOOO BUSY; I barely had any downtime to create. But that didn’t stop me from bringing the sweater I’m working on (now that its summer temps here 80-90 degrees F). Which I was able to get a little bit done on while waiting for my hair, since I wanted that done before I committed to make-up. The New Germany State Park is beautiful and I will likely take my family in the future.

Its very own compartment in my GIANT toiletry bag.

Saturday was a beautiful day in Western Maryland. The sky was blue. The birds were singing. The lake clear and the trees lush and green. The other bridesmaid and I brought the party, and danced all evening. I danced so hard my fake eyelashes came unglued. I barely took any pictures. I lived in the moment and let the photographer do her magic.

The cake was also REALLY good.

Sunday my feet ached and my legs and hips were SO TIGHT. Signs of a successful wedding reception. I danced like I was still in my 20’s, I felt every bit of my 40 years the next day!

But before breakfast, we got to observe this little guy and his siblings munching on the greenery.

Now its back to my normal life. See you soon with (hopefully) some finishes!

A Little Finish

Bitty Sized

I decided to work up another hat in the “experimental” fashion. This one is also a newborn size as well. My friend’s baby is due in June, so within the next month (or so), I’ll be able to try it on a human. The next iteration will be an adult sized hat in the same style. I do want to try another weight yarn.

Year of Projects: Week 38/39

What Did I Even DO?

As I start typing this, I have NO idea what to write about. I’ve been making some slow progress on “stuff”. Here is a recap (some of which has been chronicled since my last YOP post).

The photos on my phone would suggest that I’ve done little fiber stuff and a small amount of sewing. This is partially true? I’ve made some knitting bags (that I don’t actually need) to test out the prospect of selling some on Etsy. I posted about the shown projects here and here. I’m making some masks for the wedding I’m in next weekend. Me, the bride, and the other bridesmaid are all vaccinated, I’m still going to finish the masks. I’m only making them 2 layer instead of 3 (like all the other ones I made). As long as my kids are unvaccinated, I will be wearing a mask indoors. Not shown: 6 pairs of kid sized PJ pants that need waists and hems. Cutting and body sewing took less than 2 hours for them all. The next part requires ironing. And also elastic, which I may or may not have enough of for ALL 6 pairs. None of the fabric was stash, all was purchased specifically to make kid PJ pants.

Knitting: I’ve been working on some baby sized hats. One was a proof of concept (top center), the other is a refinement (top right). Both are fingering weight. Not shown knitting: a newborn red Magic Sea Captain Watch Cap, chunky weight yarn.

Crochet not shown: I started a striped C2C baby blanket of worsted leftover yarns, I just started the decrease side so I’ve about 50 “rows” remaining. I don’t think I’ve taken any pictures of this blanket, I think I have enough yarn in the colors selected to finish??

Yarn Stash-down: I’ve currently used 42 full skeins in calendar year 2021, out of a goal of 100 skeins.

I guess that’s it? Adieu!

Get the Mail!

It’s Stuff I actually WANT.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how my favorite dyer (AT Haynes House Yarns) was using the proceeds of their colorways Fight and Until We Win to help offset costs associated with her sister’s cancer treatment. After an very short wait and SUPER SHORT SHIPPING TIME, my pretties have arrived!

Fight and Until We Win

I’m already thinking about the beautiful and EPIC shawl I’m going to create with these two yarns. There are some similar crossover colors, so they’ll coordinate nicely. I have 435 yards of each colorway, both in the MCN (merino, cashmere, nylon) base. I’m leaning toward a parallelogram shape. I have so many triangular shawls that I want something slightly different.

My other special delivery were the sandals I ordered last week! I’m in a wedding next weekend, and needed a new pair of dress sandals. I have a nice pair from Seyschelles (like these), but they make my feet ACHE SO BAD anymore (my feet are so difficult and temperamental these days). So I purchased a sensible dress sandal from the Birkenstock Papillio line, these. DSW usually has pretty good shipping turn around, so I ordered from them instead of direct from Birkenstock (same price); plus I get rewards points from DSW. They got shuffled about by FED-EX for about a week (making me feel pensive about getting them in time). I was SOOO excited to get them out of the box and onto my feet today.

AND I STILL NEED TO DRIVE OVER TO THE MALL BECAUSE THEY FORGOT TO REMOVE THE INVENTORY CONTROL TAG FROM MY PURCHASE. The mall is only 10 minutes away, so its not really that much of a hassle; its the principal of the whole thing. They don’t pinch or rub or make my toes go numb. Other to-do items for the week: pedicure.

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: So Much Sewing

Some sewing project for the week

Sometimes I get the itch to SEW. And SEW I did this week. I had initially intended on making PJ pants for the kids. Yeah… Haven’t done that yet. But I’ve made a bunch of other stuff. So far I’ve made 2 zipped pencil pouches, 1 zipped pouch, 1 bag, 1 weird basket thing, and 2 knot style bags.

When it comes to interface, I’m CLUELESS. I purchased some stiff iron-on interface, but it was too stiff (dark zip pencil case), I ordered some fusible fleece instead. Its not quite as stiff as I wanted, but soft and helps keep the shape more than nothing. I used it in the banana pencil bag above. That one is for my daughter- bananas are her recent jam. I’m going to make my son one, and both my kids’ teachers one for end of the year gifts. They are moderately easy to put together. AND I discovered my sewing machine can do a zig-zag over lock stitch that looks a bit like a serger finish. COOL.

I have some old recycled zippers that I pulled out of my grandma’s sewing supplies after she passed (like 15 years ago). The teeth are metal. I used one of the long ones for the pouch with some fusible fleece. Its a weird shape, the pouch, not the zipper. Working with the large tooth metal zipper is somewhat more difficult than a nylon ones I usually use. Much less flexible for one. Also: I’m a bit paranoid that the machine will hit the metal zipper at the wrong spot, snap the needle and it’ll fly into my eye. Unlikely. Irrational. Foolish. But yet, somehow in the back of my mind when sewing on a metal zipper.

The cat faced bag is Simplicity #2658 paper pattern I purchased 10 years ago. I didn’t add the bottom, I sewed the front/back and made a little box. I also frenched the seams of the body, for shape. Meh on that. I won’t to that again.

My weird basket was a fail.

Knot bag!

I made the knot bags yesterday. They are both corduroy with a (thick-ish) polyester liner. These turned out really good. My stitching is REALLY even. Its almost as if with all this sewing practice I’m getting good. I’m thinking about making and posting some additional bags on my Etsy for sale.

Action shot!

I also took my kids biking on the C&O Canal Towpath on Wednesday afternoon. Its a smooth gravel path. VERY VERY FLAT. We were able to do almost 6.5 miles in just over an hour. The ride was SO easy, that my smart watch didn’t count ANY of the ride as exercise- even though I had a workout running (I wanted to capture our total miles). It did register exercise for loading and unloading the bikes off the carrier, go figure.

Not a lot of knitting/crochet this week. I’ve been sewing while the kids are at school and doing some dumb chores that I don’t want to do. I will be back Sunday to give 2 weeks of YOP updates.

Experimental Knitting

The other day, I was thinking about interesting construction concepts for hats. And I had a somewhat unconventional idea that I wasn’t certain if it would work or not. The only way to get these ideas out of my head it to dive in and construct.

Proof of Concept

What worked: the slip stitches worked great for connecting the 10-stitch strips, picking up the ribbing and the crown.

What didn’t work: the yarn. I like this yarn coloration, just not for this project the stacking is meh. I started the increase on the wrong side, so my joins are on the wrong side. The 10-stitch strip may be too wide for a newborn-ish sized hat, maybe its just the weird patterning of the yarn I used.

Conclusions: It is likely I will choose a new yarn and make this hat again. If the newborn size works with my modifications, I’ll try some other sizes. I think this would look REALLY nice in the right solid. OR a solid with a little cable!! OK. I need to rush off and try this.

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Project Pouch

Even if I’m not blogging about it, I’m always working on SOMETHING creative. A new spin on a recipe, a weird eyeshadow color combination, some kind of knit/crochet/sewing endeavor.

My kids were in school yesterday, and I got the desire to SEW. I have my own laundry to wash/dry/put away, kids clothes to put away and the table linens too. But none of that mattered yesterday morning because I needed to SEW. I didn’t take pictures of the process, because I was just focused on creating. I also didn’t use a pattern, or an iron, or a ruler. All things considered, still a success. You may be wondering what I made. A project bag! It has been too long since I stitched one up. Excuse the curses. I swear a lot in person.

Some information about the fabrics: The outside fabric is the stuff that didn’t work for my placemats because it attracted all the lint in the wash. I used a lint roller to remove the unattractive fuzz; glad I don’t have to do that once a week. It was given to me by someone in my Friday night knit group about 10 years ago. Its a decor weight canvas, thick, heavy, sturdy. The cat fabric, is also the liner. I’ve had this since about 2003. You see, it was a Christmas gift from my friend Ashley. It has been a cherished part of my fabric stash for 18 years (I have about a fat quarter sized piece left). I finally found a project I wanted to use it for.

I’ve never sewed a bag quite like this, and all my other project bags are just quilting cotton with no interface. This was quite the departure to live dangerously for.

I just eyeballed my fabrics for size and squareness. No ironing. Then I started sewing. I forgot I wanted to put two loops so I could use it as a walk bag. At least I remembered to sew on the pocket before I closed it up. The pocket is just a piece of fabric folded in half. In retrospect, I would have made the pocket with interfacing between the layers or a piece of quilting cotton and a piece of canvas. A thicker pocket would support pins better I think. The pocket was added exclusively for the pins, btw. I have a similar bag from AT Haynes House Yarns, and I LOVE it. Its the bag I use for walking with knits. However, I wanted to put cheeky pins on my project bag, and want to keep pin backs away from my projects; I’ve been using the top loop for pins, but the yarn still gets tangled around it.

After I sewed most of it up, I remembered I wanted to add top loops. Out came the seam ripper. I added a grosgrain ribbon and a piece of binding I had floating around my sewing bag. I eyeballed their placement and secured with some topstitching. The drawstring was leftover from a cinchable chicken egg collecting apron I made for my brother-in-law a few Christmases ago.

I also had intended on squaring the bottom… but forgot how until the MOMENT I finished putting my sewing machine away. Next week I might rip out the bottom inside seam and fix it. Or I might not.

There you have it! Another Shoddy Seamstress Adventure from Cinna at Miscellaneous Design Studio!

Year of Projects: Week 37

Some things are complete!

I can unveil my baby gifts for my bestie, her shower was yesterday. It was great to see her and share a wonderful day outside.

For the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman, I made the smallest, the 134 c/o, with a large gauge (I think I had 4.75 stitches/in on a size 8/5mm). I used all but 3 yards of the 300y skein of Magpie Fibers Solstice DK in Strange Brew. I machine washed cold (on delicate/handwash) the bitty sweater, but the superwash got stretchy (because it’s of the nature of superwash). So I popped it in the dryer to dry. It was PERFECT. Soft, smooshy, the stitches plumped up nicely, and it didn’t shrink. Easy care luxury.

For the record, if anyone asks the maximum amount of stitches you can cram onto a 10″ straight needle, the answer should be less than 194. The last dozen or so rows, I had to switch to my 14″ needles. It was becoming more annoying to try and manage on the short needles. Q: Why didn’t I just use a circular? A: I had the straights at my desk when I was ready to cast-on and didn’t feel like going to get different needles.

There are too many stitches on the needle.

The Hedgehog was the Purls Soho pattern. It is free. And pretty easy. I modified it to hold aran weight double for the body on size 5. Do not do this. My fingers ached. I held the yarn triple for the fuzzy top, to strands of fun fur and a strand of the worsted from the body. I didn’t want any stuffing to come through. No worries, the fabric is practically watertight (hyperbolic statement).

I’m not going to lie, I CACKLED with glee when I finished sewing on this little face.

This week I also finished my Sweet Summer Justine blanket. Before my spouse cut the grass, I was able to get some pictures of recent FOs. Getting pattern pictures can be a challenge sometimes. Time, scenery, weather, lighting, and availability all factor in. Here are some photos from my lawn photo shoot. I can definitely use a few of them with a little bit of editing and reframing.

Little Ways to Support Others

Terri and I at The Knot House February 2020. Brian is in the background!

I talk A LOT about how much I love AT Haynes House Yarns. I love all Terri’s colorways. I love the bases. I love Brian’s Bags, the one I purchased back in Feb 2020 is the knitting bag I use for walks! I love that their whole family is involved with the business in some way. They Haynes’ are good people. I’ve had the opportunity to meet them (Terri and Brian) in person, and I just want to hug them (I’m not a hugger); they are so great. I follow them on Facebook and Instagram and their Newsletter. Right now, we, as fiber lovers, can show we care and HELP. AT Haynes House Yarns is currently having proceeds from the colorways, Fight and Until We Win, go toward funding incidentals toward her sister’s cancer treatment journey. Please consider buying one (or both) colorway(s) to help great people.

I purchased the Merino/Cashmere/Nylon fingering blend, one in each colorway. I already know I love the Fight colorway, I made a sweater from it paired with “But You Would Looks So Cute”. See, I MUST love the colorway: I’ve purchased it in a different base! The current version of Fight I think is a little different than the version I purchased back in October of 2019

Philanthropic Youth

My daughter’s Girl Scout troop is working on a Philanthropy Badge. Last night, they had a speaker from Federated Charities. They talked about some way charities can help others, and how local charitable organizations can network together to provide the greatest impact to the most people. They also talked about why being empathetic and charitable was important to being a good citizen. This may be one of the most important badges the girls are working on this year.

As a family, we do passive charitable giving. Donation of items to Goodwill and the Salvation Army, clothing to the Frederick Rescue Mission, small cash donations or non-perishable items to the YMCA and local food pantries. I’ve also donated made cold weather items to various drives over the years. We don’t do these things because it makes us feel superior or great; no: we do these things because they are easy to accomplish. Our non-financial giving simply frees up space. The financial contributions are convenient. We

The girls will be brainstorming ideas on how to help for their next meeting. And my assumption is they will come up with a little project to do. My daughter has IDEAS, but she’s a kid so I helped her focus her idea to represent a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely). We figured out the specific, attainable and relevant. Partially because figuring out measurable and timely will be dictated by the scope of the project. I also mentioned that partnering with an organization to help them with a small part of their goal may help more people than if you built something from the ground up for a project.

Although, we are still working on the fundamental ideological difference between charity and giving something we don’t use to someone we know.

Too Many Tasks

Having my kids back in school 2 days a week is a great mental break for me. I have these great machinations that I’m going to do ALL THE THINGS and be SOOOOOO productive. Spoiler: I cannot squeeze 10 hours of tasks into the 8:15-10:50 time slot.

Took a moment to snap a selfie, even though there was work to be done.

I got a quarter of my tasks accomplished this morning. Then it was time to go get the littlest (he is in the AM program). While he was playing with his dinos, I put away 2 loads of kids laundry and then cleaned most of the previous size stuff out of their closets. This resulted in 2 large kitchen trash bags of stuff. I wish I had done this last week, I could have sent my mom home with a SECOND bag of boys clothes for her neighbors (instead of one)! I thought I had a final bag of hand-me-downs in the attic for my daughter, but when I checked today, there were none! This is good, because the bitty miss has IDEAS about her personal fashion these days.

I just threw it over my legs to snap a quick FO pic. Its laying skewed.

One of my tasks DID involve something non-chores related. I finished the edging on the Justine- Summer Colors thrown this morning! I have to weave in the ends, but all the crochet is done. Now to focus on the BSJ, I’m on row 8.

BSJ beginnings. SO MANY ROWS TO GO.
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