Friday, September 18, 2015

My First Socks

I've had this stretchy sock yarn for an embarrassingly long yarn. When I started knitting in my 20's, I knew that at some point I wanted to learn to knit socks.

Then there was the 2010 sock fiasco where I tried to learn to knit socks, use dpns to knit in the round, and learn cables all in one project. I only finished one sock and it was so bad that I didn't even bother starting the second one and I've been terrified of socks ever since.

This pattern was actually supposed to be an open-toe pattern, but I decided to add toes anyway. I love my socks. No, they are not perfect. I still have to figure out how to get rid of the ladders between stitches. But, they are super comfy and, "Yay!" I finished my first pair of socks and can actually wear them!

Check out my Ravelry page here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Crochet Bag

So I love Lucy from Attic 24's crocheted bags. She has a Crocheted Bag pattern as well as a Jolly Chunky Bag pattern. I had chunky yarn leftover from my needlepoint pillow. So, of course, I planned to make the Jolly Chunky bag. I got the right size hook out and put it with the yarn. Well, when I went to make the bag, I accidentally downloaded the Crocheted Bag pattern. As I finished up the bottom in the above picture, I realized this bag was going to be monstrously big so I started to make some adjustments.

Here the bag is finished except for weaving in all the ends. There were a lot of ends!
Peanut the dog is jealous that the bag is getting my attention instead of her.
And, it turned out terrifically. About halfway up, I started decreasing about every other row. I just kind of eye-balled it and decreased as it needed.
Crocheted handles seem to stretch too easily with my overloaded bags so I used some recycled nylon handles. I also added a green shoestring to the top so I can close it.
And I love the little flowers that were part of the pattern. I'm really happy with this bag.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Cozy Wooly Blanket

As fall weather turns cooler, I bring out this blanket made from thrifted wool sweaters that I washed and shrunk before sewing together. It is backed with cozy flannel made from old flannel twin-size flat sheets that I had turned into a duvet cover before converting them to blanket backing. And, it is tied with scraps of yarn.

This is the coziest, wooliest blanket ever and my absolute favorite for cool weather cuddling. Mochi the cat and Peanut the dog seem to agree as they frequently take their naps on its wooly goodness. In fact, it might be time to start considering making a second blanket!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Redwork Towel

Here in China, the threads available, or, perhaps I should say, the threads I've found are fairly limited. DMC floss can be found in the cross-stitch shops at about twice what it costs in the US. Of course, here it's also sold by the yard if you prefer.

I found balls of this single strand, thick, cotton thread in black, white, and red from different street vendors and decided to see how it worked with redwork. I used the black and white threads to crochet art quilt embellishments.

This thread was not especially smooth to work with and knotted easily, but since I was stitching on a never-been-used flat diaper, that wasn't a major concern.  (Note: those new flat diapers are terrific art cloths!)

I used a single strand and did not double it for stitching. Also, because of the slight patterning of the cloth, the design did not transfer well and was really light in spots. Can you find the error I made because of this? Again, since it's going to be used to mop up spills and dry dishes, I wasn't too concerned.

Overall, crocheting with this thread turned out better than stitching with it. It worked fine for this project, though.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Crocheted Charger Cord

I saw this pattern on Through the Loops and since I had a very small portion of Koigu yarn left I  decided my charger cord needed embellishment. It wasn't quite enough to cover the whole cord, but it still brightens up the cord, uses up a tiny scrap of yarn, and makes me smile. It also makes it much easier to find on my creatively crazy desk.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Turmeric Pillowcases

This was a pair of lavender flannel pillowcases that were quite old and worn which I dyed with turmeric. One of them had a hole in them, so I wasn't worried about ruining them in the least. I loved the coloring. They actually look much more yellow in person than they do on-screen. The triangular embroidery pattern was done with 3 strands of DMC and took an inordinately long amount of time to complete. I tried drawing the pattern with several different marking pencils, but none of them showed up well and left me trying to guess where each stitch should go.

The bottom pillowcase I finished in less than an hour. I used a single strand of indivisible cotton thread and just did 3 rows of running stitches. I think I like how it looks better than the other one, too. The red also looks better with the yellow in person. The pillowcases don't seem so washed out when I look at them as they do in the picture. But, updating the pillowcases was pretty easy and worked out well so it was worth it.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The last of the summer hollyhocks. So pretty and pink. And, I just love saying the name. Maybe it's because I always liked Holly Hobby, but hollyhocks are just so much fun. We had such a cool summer it seems as if it's already been fall for a few months. But, these lovelies are proof that summer was here even if it slipped by unnoticed between spring and fall this year.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Turmeric Dye

 Boiling turmeric powder in water on the stove.
 Steaming the yarn.
 Pillowcases and Aida in the simmering water.
Turmeric yellow is such a happy color! Now, what to do with all my yummy yellow goodness!

I used about a 1/2 cup of turmeric powder and steamed/simmered my items for approximately 30 minutes. I didn't use any kind of mordant so I'm not too sure how lasting the color will be, but we'll see.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Wooly Pincushion

A few years ago, one of my best friends presented me with a large bag full of thrifted wool sweaters. I added to it and then felted all of them and cut out squares to make a large, felted wool blanket for the bed. Later, I added a flannel backing and tied the whole thing into a quilt. That blanket is the coziest thing ever.

Well, I saved the bottom ribbed section from one of them to turn into a pincushion. Would you believe that I just now got around to doing just that? I never could quite get the look I wanted until now.

The ribbed sweater bottom was from a man's sweater, so even felted it was almost 3 feet in length. I rolled it up with each edge slightly lower than the last to form a domed shape. Then I sewed the edge to hold it in place.

I used thread from my large spool instead of color coordinating thread. I bring good thread with me, so I save it for special projects and a scrap pincushion did not make the cut. But, the visible stitches just give it a homemade scrappy feel that I actually like.

I cut a round out of another, thinner, felted sweater sleeve and rolled the edges as I stitched it to the bottom. The crocheted motif I used for the top, was a crocheted hexagon I tried to make that came out more circular. It has been laying in my scrap basket for a few years until I decided it would make the perfect pincushion top. I also added a small, crocheted flower to the top.

Finally, I sewed some recycled lace to the top edge and doesn't it look like a scrumptious albeit woolly cupcake? The moral of the story? Never, EVER, throw away scraps, because you never know when they will make the perfect addition to a project.

I'm really loving this pincushion, too. It's got a bit of weight to it that makes it stay put. Also, I don't have to worry about poking myself with a pin while I'm trying to hold the pincushion in place.