Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hanging on by a thread

I'm not apologizing for being absent, just letting you know: I was SICK, you vultures! Bronchitis again *sigh (immediately followed by kaff-coff-kaff)*, another doctor visit. I'm still coughing, but not as puny as I was. For about 3 days, I got sleep 10 minutes at a time, then woke up & coughed for 10 minutes, ad nauseum. Talk about tired!
I'm making a third Dolly Blanket for Princess Tess' babies, even though I've still to send the 2nd one. I have a bag full of Sugar N Creme in various pastels, which are being worked into mitered squares - very cute! Sis has asked for a cozy for her tall latte; I will have to check the stash for something feltable. Should be fun! I started the Feather & Fan stole again, this time with US 6 circular needle, and alternating skeins every other row. No more pooling & flashing! It should come out with a more consistent color over the entire thing. Not that it wasn't lovely; but it will be lovelier now!
We had a bit of a financial melt-down at Chez Plaid Patrol -- the bank screwed up by dinging us for two mortgage payments, although we'd only authorized one. We had funds for one mtg. payment and weekly essentials (minimal groceries, gas, doctor visit). Needless to say, the second mtg payment sent us into the red in a big way, and we didn't even know it for almost a week! So we're blithely using the debit card for groceries & gas, and our life insurance autodrafts came out.
ETA: We missed a credit on our tax return, and got a check from the IRS!! Surprise! The Plaidman had to call them up & ask if it was "really" our money. And Pup sent a check too, God bless him. So our straits aren't quite so dire at the moment. We've made a pledge: No more checks by phone! Then I had to stop the Plaid One from making one just two days ago...he went to the library to do it online instead.
The mitered Dolly Blanket is moving quite slowly. The second sock is moving along well:

And, saving the best for last, at a job fair over on the Lipscomb campus, Plaidman got hired!! He's in training today & tomorrow, which is our 33rd wedding anniversary. After that he's going to work 3rd shift, not so great actually, but at least it's a job! I'm so relieved.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I took the Chunky Monkey Hat home Wednesday night, and removed the ears--I'd decided they were A) too small and B) placed too high on the hat. So I got out a bigger crochet hook (an N - seriously big) and remade those ears, sewed the new ears on the hat, and took more pics of the hat being modelled by our sweet little TomTom Kitty. DiscoDame & I about laughed ourselves silly. So, now it's on my desk at work, waiting for the "client" to pick it up, and garnering a few compliments. I did put it in the wash between the picture-taking and bringing it to work; the yarn is so much softer now!

It looks like I'll have to make another one for TomTom; he's enjoying it so!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Graduation from Daymar Inst

What a great day! This past Saturday DiscoDame had her graduation ceremony.


Here's the Dad & Grad shot:

Sunday I finished the Baby/Toddler Monkey Hat. I'll have pics later. This little thing took some brain-burning to make: I had only a sketchy idea of what the lady wants, and the free patterns I found online all used sport/baby or DK weight yarns. I had nothing in the stash in the colors wanted, in sport/baby or DK--but I had it in chunky in the main color, and in worsted in the contrast color, and both were the same fiber blend. So I triple-stranded the contrast to match weights with the main, jiggered the maths for the size hat I wanted, and started the thing about four times. The earflaps aren't real big, but they're noticeable, even though they're knit in one piece with the rest of the hat. Here's what I came up with, pattern-wise:
Materials: Main color (MC) - about 1/2 skein Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick
Contrast color (CC) - about 1/2 skein Lion Brand Wool Ease (solid color)
Size US 13 circular, either extremely long for Magic Loop, or use two of them, or Sz 13 DPNs if you prefer. I used two circulars for the hat.
Size 11 US DPNs (two, for I-cord ties)
Tapestry needle, tape measure, stitch marker

For baby/toddler size, the total circumference needs to be no less than 12", and should probably stretch to about 13.5". Gauge - well, I never checked it exactly, but the Thick & Quick ballband calls for a US 15 and 9 stitches over 3" (I think, I'll check this before I post). I figured it would be a little bit smaller with the smaller needles, and that would also give me a nice firm fabric for this hat. Decide whether you want this as stockinette or garter, & work accordingly.
First earflap: In MC, cast on 3 sts. Turn, work even across. For the next rows, work RS rows with an increase near each end, and wrong side rows work even.
Next row (RS): K1, make 1, K1, make 1, K1. Next row (WS): Work even (5 sts).
Next row : K1, M1, K3, M1, K1. Next: Work even (7 sts). The contrast color edge will add width & length to the earflap, so cut the yarn (leave enough to weave in) & place these 7 sts on a holder or DPN.
Now, work the second earflap as for the first, but don't cut the yarn. Instead, use a backwards loop cast on for 11 stitches (work these as tightly as you can!) for the front of the hat. Making sure the right sides of both earflaps are outward, knit(purl) across the first flap. Again, backwards loop cast on 11 stitches (back of cap), join for in-the-round & place marker, and knit across the second earflap. Work even until piece is 2.5" above the earflaps. Next round, *K4, K2tog*, repeat to marker. Work even for 3 rounds/rows. Next: *K3, K2tog*, repeat to marker. Work even for 2 rounds. Next: *K2, K2tog*, repeat to marker. Work even 1 round. Next: *K1, K2tog*, repeat to marker. Next round: K2tog around; repeat until there are only 5 stitches left on the needles. Cut yarn, leaving a 6" tail. Thread yarn tail onto large tapestry needle, run through the remaining sts twice, remove circular needle & pull to close the top of the hat.
With US 13 & CC triple-stranded, pick up all stitches around bottom edge of cap. I did the MC in stockinette, so decided to work the trim in reverse stockinette; but I know lots of folks don't like to purl that much--try garter stitch. I made two rows even, then on the third row when I came to the middle 4-5 stitches of the earflaps, I worked short rows twice to extend the length of the earflap. Continue around to marker, then bind off. For the "ears" I just made a 2-chain crochet chain, worked 4 single crochet into the first chain (careful not to work over the tail end--the loop can be pulled tight later!). Slip st to 2nd chain st, work 1 sc same st, 2 sc in each st around, slip st & pass cut end of yarn thru loop. Repeat. I sewed the "ears" on just forward of the middle of the earflaps, about where the first row of decreases appears.
Now, find a willing victim/model, and LOL at the cute hat!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An accomplishment

Last Saturday I figured out the instructions for making a blind hem on the little Brother sewing machine. Now, I know this doesn't seem like much -- but I'm only 5'1" and everything I wear has to be hemmed, I'm closer to 60 than to 50 and I've never machine-hemmed anything except a nightgown or two. So, today I'm wearing a brand new pair of trousers, that I machine-hemmed! And there's another pair in the closet, all nicely hemmed, and brand new! You'd never know I took home-ec in school...back in the Stone Age. DiscoDame is supposed to be picking up her cap & gown today, so this new skill will likely come in handy again--she's an inch shorter than I am!
Just for fun:

DiscoDame downtown, what can I say!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Take a style, kid!"

Years ago I heard of an aerialist family, showcasing their newest star -- a teenaged granddaughter of the Pater Familias. She was up on the highwire, no net beneath her, and doing great! She'd made it all the way across, turned and was halfway back when she lost her footing and fell. Her grandfather caught her! He immediately put her on her feet and told her to "take a style": she was to act as if her fall was part of the act, and make a grand fluorishing bow. She did it too. Well, here's mine:

TAA-DAA!! An entire new Moc Croc Soc, Mark II! And the mate's been started, with about 2" of the leg done already. This "first" one, on the Addi 40" with Magic Loop, was done a lot more quickly than the absolute first one, which was done on DPNs. Back then (April 2008! I've taken my sweet time on these!), I wanted to knit socks like the Harlot. I'm so over it now. I think I could actually work two at once on the Addi circs. I have sock yarn, just need to decide on (FREE) pattern(s). I have a gold/green/tan/brown mix, self-striping, that will need a pattern that doesn't get lost in all that color. I have a bright cherry red that needs some texture or lace to make it pop. I have various other self-stiping yarns, which were a bit less expensive (Heart & Sole), but I'd especially like to hear anyone's ideas for the gold/green & red yarns. I've been studying what's available on Ravelry, and my head's about to explode from info overload. So, I've got like 200 sock patterns favorited on Ravelry, loads of photocopies from library books about socks, and of course several books in my own library to consult--whew! I wish I could do a giveaway of some sock yarn for ideas, but folks there's no telling when I'll be able to buy yarn again! So what's in the stash is my "lys" for the time being.
I have another commission, for an earflap cap for a baby/toddler, with a look of a monkey face to it--of course, there's tons of earflap cap patterns out there, and just as a coincidence I happen to have the colors requested in my stash--so when I use them up, & get paid to do so, I'll have a little $ to set aside for future yarny purchases.
Let's just see it once more, shall we?