Swatching Up A Storm

I’ve got to admit, I was not very good about swatching before starting a project for many years. Most likely because I was using cheap worsted weight acrylic yarn that doesn’t really change gauge much for so long that I didn’t think it was necessary. Using real yarn has taught me the value of doing a gauge swatch first. That and reading the book Custom Knits Accessories by Wendy Bernard. I rarely follow a pattern to the letter, so swatching is pretty important.

I’ve even started washing the swatches to see how the yarn does in a normal wash cycle, so I know whether or not it will be okay to wash the final product. Much better to find out that a small square shrinks than having an oddly misshapen hat or glove at the end of laundry day.

I’m casting on two projects this weekend:Starry Stole (swatch 1) and Zooey (swatch 2). I knit the swatches Wednesday, hand-washed them yesterday, and now I am ready to measure once more to be sure and cast on.

Oh, and my other swatch project is still going strong. Up to 297 out of 400 right now according to my Google+ Photo Album. Only 103 more to go.

Snug and Cozy

Well, my camera is anyway. It is way too warm still to be thinking of snug and cozy for anything else.

Speaking of my camera, I have a new one that takes awesome pictures and doesn’t run on a pack of AA batteries a week. This camera, if you happen to be so interested. It was on a good sale last week. I’m not taking a picture of my camera. That is just too weird.

You know what I did take a picture of? The cover I made for my camera. A few pictures, actually. Like this one of the front:

And this one from the side:

And this one of the soft inside:

I used a plain cotton for the outer part, and some faux fur on the inside to make it nice and cushioned. I added a button and some suede thread for a looped closure. The way the flap covers the top, I can use the wrist strap of the camera to carry it in the case. A quick and easy way to have a camera case that didn’t cost anything and is much brighter than the cases offered at the store.

Bathroom Caddies

I have a lot of toiletries. Lotions, toners, toothpastes, etc. And I use something different at night than in the morning. Sharing a bathroom with a little one who still puts everything from the floor directly into his mouth, I can’t exactly leave these things in the cabinets because that would put them directly at his level and I’d find him drinking lotion at some point, I’m sure.

That lead me to the solution of keeping everything on a shelf in my closet out of reach of tiny hands. But, I needed an easier way to transport everything back and forth without dropping something in the hallway and waking little bear up right after he goes to sleep.

Tada! Bathroom caddies. Nesting bathroom caddies, in fact. See, I started with a nice little roll for my toothbrush, toothpaste, and flosser:

Created a slightly large holder with handle for my facewashing things for the morning:

Then made a rectangular box with handles at each side to hold everything together:

Now I just take out the parts I need and have a handy little way to carry it all back and forth. The morning one worked really well today. Plus, they hold all my stuff on the shelf very nicely, even when it refuses to stand up.

Souvenirs For The Feet

Remember way back in June/July when I went to France? Well, in the small town we stayed in for our second week, there was a yarn shop, Au Fil et a Mesure, just a few blocks down from the house. Since I had much more down time there than in Paris (because there aren’t so many places you just HAVE to see in a small town), I decided to pick up some yarn and needles.

Sixteen balls of DMC Natura and a set of sock needles, to be exact. I decided my souvenirs would be socks made of French yarn on French needles. I had already picked up some wool to make Cassy’s Zooey hats for my mom and I while I was in Paris, but that project would have been a bit involved to pick up and put down whenever I had a few free moments.

So I set about making Cassy’s Earlybirds (btw, Cassy blogs atKnit the Hell Out and designs some amazing things that I just happen to be mildly obsessed with.) for four different people in four different colors. Not all at the same time of course.

I made mine in green:

Reddish-purplish for Mama:

Blue for Terry:

And purple for Gaga:

(Clicking on the pictures will take you to their respective project pages. Which should eventually be all updated with the specifics of each sock.)

It’s been a long time since I had made socks before I decided to do this. These were also the first time I had made socks in actual sock-weight yarn. Before they were out of some awful acrylic stuff like I was using to make everything at that point because ALL my yarn came from Wal-Mart. Not like there was much of anywhere else to get it where I started knitting anyway.

Even the heels are cute in this yarn. The only thing I did majorly different from the pattern is using a cable needle on the cables. I knit pretty tightly and was having a terrible time trying not to pull the stitch out while it was dropped. I still like making gloves better, because they seem to take less time, but I think I may be warming up to sock-making in general.

Minions Gone Purple

I’ve written before about making minions. The yellow ones are easy. They have a smooth, jelly bean or pill body with overalls that take up about one-third of their bodies. But when they turn evil with the PX-41 in the second movie, it gets more difficult.


Comparison picture from Despicable Me Wiki

They get kind of fuzzy, with crazy hair and wonky teeth. Hmm, fuzzy. You can see where this is going, right?

That’s right, needle-felted Evil Minion. I started with some plain white wool to create the base of the body. Then I mixed two different colors of purple to get the color close and made a second layer around the body.

I made the overalls out of blue, and some teeth out of white. I made a flat piece for the bottom jaw and put the teeth on the inside of the mouth. The eye was a ball of white and a smaller ball of black in the center with a combo of black, white, and light blue for the goggles.

I added long tubes for the arms and legs, then lightly added the fluffy hair.

With those skinny legs, he doesn’t really stand up. But he sits pretty nicely leaned up against something else. Once they’ve been turned evil they aren’t exactly the helpful kind of minion anyway, so it doesn’t matter if he stands up at all. 🙂

The Best Laid Plans

I know better than to say I’m going to get something done quickly. Or I should, by now, anyway. No more than an hour after I posted about needing to finish the gift I was knitting, it looked like this:

No, I didn’t turn it into a hedgehog instead. I frogged it. For those unfamiliar with the term, I ripped it out. All of it. Well, all except the head. That I went back to and closed up at the bottom with a ridge of purl bumps for attaching it to the “body” later.

The original body was nice and square at the top, but the bottom half got very elongated and not so pretty. So I tried again, this time aiming to knit the body as two separate squares with the “tummy patches” created by a color-work circle in the middle. That didn’t work out so well, either. Finally, I came up with crocheting the center circle and knitting the outer edge around.

Ok, first I tried to crochet the whole thing from the center, but turning the circle into a square without adding giant holes at the corner didn’t seem like it was going to happen. I made the front and back, color-reversed squares separately and then sewed them together with a blanket stitch and whip stitched the head in place:

After the party, of course. But, being a party for a 1-year-old, presents didn’t get opened until the next day so I snuck it in the bag right before it was opened.