Friday, February 28, 2014

Paradise Fibers Yarn Club: December

The Paradise Fibers yarn club project for the month of December was a scarf kit with 5 one-ounce skeins of natural fiber novelty yarns.  The yarns in the kit were: Merino Ribbon (a flat open ribbon), Wooly Feathers (sort of hairy like fun fur), Missoula (a springy textured yarn), Mohair Loop (a curly yarn), and Mohair.  All the yarns were in the red/magenta color family with a few touches of purple.
Honestly, this is the first month of yarn club that left me unhappy with the yarn choice.  I hate novelty yarns, and the colors this month are my least favorite.  The project was a chunky scarf that basically alternated rows of all the different novelty yarns.  I knit the entire scarf in one day while the city was shut down during the first "polar vortex".  It was something like 13 degrees below zero, before windchill... So knitting was the perfect distraction.  Out of all five yarns, the only two I would consider buying again are Merino Ribbon and Missoula.  They are the least weird out of the bunch.
Like I said, this is my least favorite yarn so far... And I mostly knit the scarf to get my $10 in store credit.  I'm hoping to find a friend, family member, coworker, (or even a random stranger) that loves red and can rock this scarf.  It is not really my style, but I know somebody out there would absolutely love it.  Leave a comment if that somebody is you!  (Seriously, I'll send you the scarf.)  Edit 3/4/14- I found an owner for the scarf!  My good friend Fenna from The Honest Badger.  Hopefully I can get a picture of her wearing the scarf to post here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Paradise Fibers Yarn Club: November
I realize this post is way overdue, but I finally finished my yarn club project for the month of November.  The deadline for the project was the night before my last holiday craft show.  Between creating inventory for shows and making Christmas presents, this project just didn't get done in time.  The yarn for November was River Twist by Mountain Colors in the colorway Rock Creek.  It is a lovely 100% merino that is plied with two strands that change colors.  Rock Creek is a blend of dark gray, blue, green, and purple.  It almost looks black at first glance, then you notice all the muted colors.
The project for the month was a hat with cables called Intersections Break.  I like working with cables and the pattern was easy to follow.  The only thing I didn't like about the pattern was how they figured out the sizes.  My gauge was correct, so the circumference of the hat was fine, but the number of cables for the "small" hat wouldn't have even covered my ears.  I realized this after starting the decrease rows on the evening of the project deadline.  After ripping back a few rows it became clear that I wasn't going to finish 2 more cable repeats and the decrease that evening so I set the project aside.
In the meantime I finished knitting my Echo Lodge sweater and picked up again on my colorwork socks from last year.  I also finished the yarn club project for December, which will be posted soon!  This hat ended up being a Valentine's gift for my guy.  Overall, I like the River Twist yarn and would probably order it again for another project.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Olympic Costumes

Last weekend I went to Toronto for a social ice dancing weekend.  The event was Olympic themed since it took place during the first few days of the Olympics.  I traveled with two of my skating friends from the Ohio/Pennsylvania area and we decided to put together a group costume!  My skating partner had the idea to have the Olympic rings spread across three white sweatshirts.  Since I'm the crafty one, I took his idea and ran with it.

I started out by getting three plain white sweatshirts (which turned out to be the hardest part of the whole process...) and figured out how much space I had on each shirt for decoration.  Then I cut a piece of freezer paper big enough to go over all three shirts.  (If you are unfamiliar with freezer paper stenciling, check out my other blog post about this technique.)  With a little bit of simple math I was able to figure out how big the rings needed to be.  So I set my drawing compass to make the correct size circles (in this case I think about 9 inches across, so 4.5 inches for the compass.)
I started by drawing the circle in the middle top row of the logo.  The other two circles in the top row are about an inch away from each other.  Each circle for the bottom row has the center halfway between two of the upper rings, and the top edge lines up with the center of the upper rings.  Once all the large circle were drawn, I set the compass slightly smaller (about half to 3/4 of an inch smaller.)  Then I put the point of the compass back in the same place for each circle to make sure the smaller circles were centered.  From there I erased a few lines and added a few lines to separate the different colored rings where they overlap.
The next step is cutting on the lines and getting rid of the "rings" (the part that will be filled with paint.)  I always cut my stencils with an x-acto knife because I'm a cutting ninja.  But you can also do the cutting with scissors if the shape is big enough. Then I cut the large piece into 3 sections, one for each shirt.  Freezer paper is great for stenciling because it can be ironed onto fabric and will peel off easily when you are done.  Sometimes ironing the stencil can be a little fiddly, especially when the stencil has small strips that can bend and get misaligned.  Then it is just a matter of painting the open spaces with fabric paint.  (Unfortunately, the photos are not very dramatic for this project since it is a white stencil on white fabric.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wool-Eater Blanket: Complete!
After two years, my crocheted Wool-Eater blanket is finally complete!  When I looked back to see what my last in-progress post was on this project, I realized it was over a year ago... Whoops.  I originally started this blanket on Super Bowl Sunday in 2012 as a way to pass the time and use up some leftover yarn.   My original plan was to finish the blanket before Super Bowl Sunday of 2013, but that didn't happen.  We had two extremely warm summers and I had to put the project on hold longer than I expected.  But I did manage to finish the blanket on Super Bowl Sunday of this year.
The finished blanket measures 52 x 66 inches, or 4'4 x 5'6.  It is incredibly warm and basically covers my entire couch!  I've been snuggling up under the blanket for a while, but now I can use the blanket without the threat of accidental unraveling.  Next on my project list is a second Wool-Eater pillow, similar to the one I made in 2012.  (Woah, has it been that long already?)  The idea is to use up the last remaining scraps from the second half of the blanket.
This blanket isn't just for humans, it is also the cat's favorite!  Frankie (my roommate's cat) will curl up and nap on the Wool-Eater blanket or pillow any chance he gets.  Sometimes he will cry to be let into the living room, just so he can nap on the blanket... Yeah, he's spoiled.  But who doesn't like a good wool blanket?