Plugging Along

I’ve been fairly project-monogamous, if you will, lately. Mostly because I have until Monday (not Sunday, as I thankfully found out yesterday) to turn this:

into something a bit more like this:

(random lovie picture from Amazon)

Okay, I don’t really have to take it from ball form. It’s quite a bit past this stage:

But that is the last time I took a photo. Still, I have to finish the body, then crochet the edging, then add the black detail patches to the face. So, a lot to get done. It doesn’t help that I managed to injure my finger with the size 1.5 needles.

Which leads to a little impromptu review of the Knitpicks Options fixed circular needles. These things are great. The tips are (obviously) very sharp, so you can get through those tiny stitches that are made on size 0-3 needles. Plus, the cable is very flexible and the joins are smooth so there is never any fighting with the needle when you are trying to move stitches around.

Okay, enough talking about it. I’ve got to go finish the lovie so it can have a bath, a dry, and a possible de-linting, before Monday’s party.

Pretty Little Butterfly (A Review)

I had seen a bit about needle felting before, but this video from Bubzbeauty got me really interested. (In fact, I think her Totoro design is going to be the first 3D piece I try next.) I was wandering the aisles of Michael’s with a 50% off coupon one day and saw the Dimensions Feltworks Butterfly “learn needle felting kit”.

The kit comes with pre-printed felt, two colors of roving (unspun wool), yarn and embroidery thread, felting and embroidery needles. The first thing I would suggest is to get something better than the foam block included with the kit to felt on. The foam deflates very quickly, especially as much as you have to stab the needle into the felt to get it to hold. You can buy a special “felting mat”, but I went with a plastic-bristled scrub brush from the cleaning supplies aisle at Target.

The felting instructions are really easy to understand, as are the instructions on how to create the butterfly and use the finished butterfly. The embroidery instructions may be a little difficult to understand if you have never done embroidery before, but there are always great instruction videos on YouTube. All in all, this is a great little kit to get started felting, and a great project for beginning felters. Plus, it’s an adorable butterfly. What more convincing do you need?

Another thing, besides the felting mat I mentioned before, that might make it easier to learn is the Clover Pen-Style Felting Tool. You can use 1, 2, or 3 needles at a time, and it extends to two different lengths. Let me tell you, three needles at a time makes the whole process go a lot faster, at least when you are working flat.

Light and Breezy

I love layering. So much so that I have a drawer’s worth of plain colored t-shirts and tank tops that exist solely to be worn underneath other shirts or vests. I mean, I could wear them by themselves, but that would be boring.

One thing my dresser has been missing for a while in the layering department is what I like to call a “mesh shirt.” I’m sure it has another name, but I am too lazy to actually look it up. I had one for a long time that was pastel tie-dye, but it had a few holes that were bigger than they should be because they got snagged or torn in the wash.

Browsing for projects (because I never have enough projects lined up, right?) I came across the Breezy T pattern by Brenda Bourg on the Red Heart website. It was so perfect I even matched the color of the sample.

It turned out extremely well. This was my first attempt at crocheting a garment. Many hats before, and a couple of arm bands, but never a shirt. That kind of thing I tend to reserve for knitting. Because (for those who don’t know) knitted fabric tends to have more drape and be more suited for clothing than stiffer, crocheted fabric.

Because of the mesh structure, though, this shirt is quite nice and soft. The one thing I changed from the pattern was the sleeve edging. What was written does not seem like the edging in the sample picture, plus it was way too wavy. Instead I used a simple edging that would give me a similar shape to the picture (details here if you want to know, along with all details for the project).

This may become my favorite layering piece of the summer if the temperatures stay where they are. Turn a tank top into a work-appropriate look without making me feel like I’m boiling in my skin when we are outside.

Works in Progress

I usually write about my projects once I’ve finished them, but I constantly have many different things going at once. Kind of a creativity ADD, if you will. At the moment I have three different things on the needles, plus a sewing project in the “pile of fabric stage”, and some painting projects in various stages of completion/planning.

My carry-along project this week is the same one I was working on at the Hollywood Bowl. I’ve been naming this series of Earlybirds after appropriately colored birds, but I can’t think of a purple bird name. Any ideas?

My big project for this month is this little guy, a panda bear lovie for a certain Little Bear’s birthday on Labor Day. I’m just about an inch from the halfway point, where I will be able to start decreasing to make it go faster again. Don’t worry, once I’ve finished the body this little guy is getting black eyes and a nose.

Remember how I said I was going to remake these bags from the Hollywood Bowl night? They are currently my fabric pile. I’m also going to make some snack-sized bags to go along with them. If you want a tutorial to make your own, I got my general idea from this site. I made my own pattern based on the measurements listed on my plastic bags in the kitchen, though.

There are a few other things lying around my room that I am not currently actively working on, but I think this is going to keep me busy at least for this week.

Something Up My Sleeve

Well, not technically up my sleeve yet because it’s still 100 degrees every afternoon and wearing long enough sleeves of that would be absolutely insane.

This idea came about when I was preparing for my Paris trip and trying to come up with a way to carry my wallet contents without actually having to deal with a wallet in such a tourist area. Because everyone knows pickpockets gather in tourist areas. Which is why I wear pants with buttoning pockets to Universal. Well, that and so I don’t lose my phone on a roller-coaster.

Anyway, back to the wallet. I didn’t actually get it finished in time for Paris because I got stuck on the closure. I had originally planned for snaps so it could be reversible. That didn’t work out so well because I kind of forgot how to put the snaps in, plus snapping it seemed like it might be a little difficult to put on one-handed.

I finally went with buttons and loops. Much easier to put on. I just made a long bias strip out of the remaining piece of the top fabric and cut 4 – 1-and-a-half-inch strips.

I made an opening with a zipper to keep everything safe inside. I took the zipper pull off and sewed the edge to each side first. Then I put the zipper pull back. Pretty easy to put it together this way.

The fabrics I used for the outside and the lining are the same pattern in two different color ways. Both are from Anthology Fabrics from a couple of years ago.

Outside:

Inside:

I like how this came together, but I think I am also going to make another one. Just to have a couple of options, especially so I can wash one and have another on hand. I think I will do the second one on the bias and just make it slip over my hand rather than using a closure. If it works out, I may just write that pattern up and share it.

Knitting at the Hollywood Bowl

I’ve gotten into the habit of carrying my little knitting bag nearly everywhere to make progress on some of my smaller projects when I have a bit of free time. So when I got the chance to go to the Hollywood Bowl to see the LA Phil and Los Angeles Master Chorale perform Verdi’s Requiem on Tuesday, I knew I would be taking it along to work on the sock I had cast on Monday. But, being paranoid as I am about having my knitting needles taken away somewhere at security, I wanted to check for any restrictions.

There is no information anywhere about knitting at the Hollywood Bowl. I know there are many knitters out there who like to bring work along to concerts and such, but there was literally nothing on the Internet that said whether you could or not. Typing “knitting Hollywood Bowl” (simplest term I came up with) only leads you to pages that mention The Knitting Factory and Hollywood Bowl. So I decided to wing it.

Now, my experience may not be typical. The security guy glanced at my lunchbox and I didn’t even have time to open my tiny knitting bag before he waved me through. But no one else inside the venue said anything about it, so I’m assuming it’s not against any regulation.

We got there right as they were letting everyone in to be seated, so we ate our dinner at our seats, which were luckily in the front of the section. That meant we could use the ledge as a makeshift table. I had packed sandwiches and cookies in some fabric sandwich bags I threw together. I’m not saying that to “humble-brag,” I literally was throwing things through the sewing machine. That is why I took them apart today to remake them with a little more thought.

We finished eating our dinner just as the concert was about to start. I picked up the start of my first purple Earlybird sock and started knitting. We were only able to stay for the first hour or so, since it was a late night. I still managed to get through the first repeat of the cables, though.

So, for any knitters out there looking to knit through their next LA Phil concert at the Hollywood Bowl, to my knowledge you are allowed to bring it. That is some helpful information to have out there.

A Carry-Some

I’ve created a long list of projects for myself recently. In order to get everything done in a reasonable amount of time, I’ve started carrying some socks I’m working on with me nearly everywhere. Seriously. I was knitting and walking around downtown Burbank the other day wasting time before I had to go back to work.

Anyway, there is no room in my purse to continuously shove the socks, needles, stitch markers, and information card I need to work on the socks at any spare moment. So I needed a way to contain everything and attach it to my bag (or carry it on its own). Luckily, I had a free workshop on Craftsy to make a small drawstring bag. I also had the remnants of some “fat quarters” (a half-yard of fabric cut along the fold) lying around.

The bag came out just the perfect size for all the things I needed to carry to work on the socks I’m currently making.

Plus, the drawstrings let me either tie it to the strap of my big bag or carry it on its own. I even tied it to my belt loop the other day while I was walking.