Saturday, November 26, 2016


Mermaid blankets are still popular this winter! And why not?! Warm, cozy, they won't fall off your feet, and you can have fun at the same time. I don't mind making them, but I really wish someone would order different colours. I just finished these two, and have another pink/purple one on the go. I do a little to change it up, but there's not a whole lot I can do when the customer says "I like the one in the picture just the way it is".

 Once I had finished, I wasn't sure if it was long enough, so when I went back to the starting chain to crochet over it, I continued upwards a few rows of pattern.

 I wanted the tail to be a bit bigger this time. I starter with more stitches, but it really didn't end up significantly bigger. I don't like the huge tails. They look cool, but they take a lot more yarn, so they weigh quite a bit which isn't the most practical with little kids. And more yarn=more cost and more time. 399gr

For this one, I did some colour blending instead of just going AA, AB, BB, BC, CC in rows. You can see how I did patches of AB. I like it. It was partly to stretch the AA yarn out more, but in the end, I think I had enough. I was working away on the couch, and I couldn't remember how tall the recipient was, so I kept working cause I didn't want to get up and look up the message. Turns out she's not as tall as I was thinking, LOL, so this is going to be super cozy. 1049gr

Again, I tried to enlarge the tail but it still wasn't much bigger. The shape before they get sewn on is rather bizarre, LOL. I'm always freaked out by it. But it looks great once sewn on.

Yarn In:    8023gr
Yarn Out:  1448gr + 6302gr = 7750gr
Balance:  273gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:   $351.86 /331 days = $1.06/day

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yarn, Yarn, Yarn

I'm working on several projects which each required several trips to several yarn stores. So it's been hard posting, since I seem to keep buying yarn faster than I'm using. But I'm going to try.

Fair Isle Stockings--12 balls Rowan Superwash Worsted, 1200gr. Total cost $124.30

Sigh. I think I'll stop there and get the rest together later.

Oh, wait! I already counted the first three Ivory balls of Superwash! Back to the calculator...9 balls, 900gr, $95.07

Yarn In:   900gr + 7123gr = 8023gr
Yarn Out:  6302gr
Balance:  1721gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:   $256.79+$95.07=$351.86 /328 days = $1.07/day

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sentiment and Pompoms

I got an email inquiry in the summer from a lovely lady who wanted new stockings for men marrying her daughters, made to match her family's existing stockings. Not the most complex pattern I've done, but still, there were challenges LOL.  The first thing I did was change the pattern to be knit in the round. The original had a very obvious seam, so for these, I did a "faux seam".

 She had written up the original pattern, but my yarn was slightly thicker, so I had to change some of the instructions to make it match. The bows/hangers were interesting to sew on. I figured out the best way on #2, but then, for some reason, it didn't work on the next one. LOL. If I weren't trying to match old stockings, I would have formed the bow and wrapped the middle with yarn, instead of trying to stitch it all down. I was worried the pompoms wouldn't look right since my yarn was thicker and different. I ended up washing the stockings twice because they took too long to dry the first time. The pompoms fluffed up really nicely in the dryer.

My big challenge was trying to make the pompoms the same size as the original. I got out my plastic ring pompom maker and googled for some instructions and tips. I know how to use it, but I always wonder what happens if you use only the biggest ring and fill it entirely full, vs, keeping all the rings together.  I found one blog that showed this type of pompom maker--most of Google was for newer gadgets. I know the instructions are not all that good on the package, but well...don't follow her's either. You MUST fill up the rings.

 It looks pretty ratty and ragged at first!  Trimming fixes all of that.
 Or, just use the smallest rings. One really important tip I have learned over time, is to use a finer yarn as the tie yarn. Something strong. Some people use cotton soaked in hot water, saying it will shrink when it dries. Maybe. By using a finer yarn, you don't get that gap around the equator.  I also like to steam my pompoms. This brings the yarn to life and fills it in really well. This time, I forgot to do that, but the washing machine and dryer did a good job.

Not shown here, but you can see it on my Instagram page, I believe---I am paranoid about spelling names right or phrases, etc. I somehow added an extra R to Merry on one stocking. Thankfully I noticed as I was working on the Y!

Yarn In:    7123gr
Yarn Out:  100gr x4= 400gr + 5902gr =6302gr
Balance:  821gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:   $256.79 /322 days = $0.80/day

I can't find where I wrote down the weight of the stockings. This is an estimate based on other stockings. I think it's a smidge high, but the pompoms and bows do add up!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Need to Catch Up

Last week kind of kicked my butt. Busy week, as usual, and the lack of sleep just really got to me. I'm getting back in the groove this week, but still feel about a week behind in life.

I checked out a new yarn "store" recently to pick up some Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted for some Christmas stockings. Less than 15 minutes from me, out in the country fringes of this megatropolis I live in. Nice drive, nice little shop. She is selling the property though and doesn't know what will happen.

When I went to drop those red scarves on, I was also searching for superwash wool for two different Christmas stocking orders--although one hadn't given me the deposit yet, so I didn't want to go ahead with getting the yarn for it, but I wanted the same yarn (different colours) for both. The store I was at didn't have the base colour (white), and recommended the Knit Kabin. She also told me that Rowan was bought by Sirdar and they can't order any yarn from either company until the merger is complete and re-organized. I was hoping I was going to find the perfect yarn for these stockings, since the design work takes a bit of time, but the machine knitting is fast, so it'd be a great item to add to my regular product line. So, I'm still not sure what I'll do.

I picked up three balls of Ivory, 100gr each. Now I have to go back to the first store for the two other colours, possibly three, and then back out to the Knit Kabin (who is doing appointment only) for more white and possibly a fourth colour.  Plus, a run to Michael's for another ball of dark purple for another mermaid blanket in pink and purple. So much running around and design work, and not enough actual knitting time!!

Yarn In:   300gr + 6823gr = 7123gr
Yarn Out:  5902gr
Balance:  1221gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:    $29.25 +$227.54= $256.79 /315 days = $0.82/day

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Bring on Winter!

In a home-business crafter's group on Facebook, a woman was selling a huge lot of wool.  A few different types, lots of colours, part balls and whole balls.  I said I'd take all her part balls and I've already included that in my yarn totals (there was 1900gr!). A pair of mitts for the kindergarten kids takes about 40gr of yarn. I should be able to get 47 pairs of itty bitty mitts, at about $1 a pair :)  To replenish the spare mitten box right away, I went with neutrals for the first few pairs.

 I started working one burgundy, one green mitten as two at a time on two circulars. It was getting a little tangly and somehow I got off course with the grey spiral. This yarn is a little thicker than others and these are a nice, dense mitten.  I was hoping to use up the remainder grey with the pair on the right, but well...these take less wool than I always expect!

The wool is NOT a soft wool, by any stretch of the  imagination.  This is a hard working, utility wool.  I washed them, and even with a bit of conditioner in the rinse, they still aren't soft, but wow, did the yarn ever bloom! Hands will be toasty warm and dry in these mitts!  Look at all those short wool fibers poking out! Sure, there are some great soft, delicious wools out there, but for kids 3-6 playing outside for 30 minutes in a Canadian winter? These are perfect.

I've got another pair on the needles already, brown and green stripes.

Yarn In:   6823gr
Yarn Out: 117gr + 5785gr = 5902gr
Balance:  921gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:    $227.54 /307 days = $0.74/day

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Red #2-#6

Red, as a colour, has a lot of things associated with it. Whole holidays, seasons, emotions, etc. And it's so tough to photograph!

I wrote way back in February about wanting to take part in a challenge to knit scarves for World AIDS Day. When Mary Anne posted the next scarf in the challenge, it was too much of a ...challenge. Then I don't know what happened.  I'm pretty sure she has not posted as many patterns as she was going to. I sort of put it aside and thought it's too late. Then there was an article in the paper, and we have until Nov 23 to hand them in, I think. I took a look at my red yarn and got to work. A nice little diversion from custom Christmas orders.

There are three different yarns used.  The second from the left is the one I did last February.  It's a very fine red yarn. The one on the left is made with ten rows a red slubby cotton (what I made my red Waterfall in), and two rows of the fine red, all in rib (92gr). The second from the right is Bramwell 4 ply, left over from a scarf (but was a left over to begin with LOL) (106gr). I talk more about its pattern in a minute.  The right most is straight up red slub in a rib (81gr).
 So.  This one was an accident.  I started out using the Bramwell and two strands of the thin red.  It had some issues so I restarted several times, the fourth time using one strand fine red.  However, I noticed after I had done a few repeats that I had not changed the settings correctly after the cast on and I was knitting it in some sort of bizarre rib.

It was knitting both beds one direction, and the main bed on the return trip. Whatever. I didn't really care by this point. It looked cool, it was laying almost flat, it was working out, both sides were nice. Etc. Time to move on!

 I got out the red slub and cranked out a plain ribbed one quite quickly.  After washing, I was a little disappointed with the red slub as it went a bit fuzzy.  Should've dried it longer in the dryer but I didn't want it to shrink. The one on the left is similar to the mistake one above, except that this time I did the ribbing correctly. In the basement, the two yarns looked much closer in colour, but outside? The red slub is not magenta like it's showing on my screen, but there was still quite a difference!

 I don't know which one this was...I think the Bramwell one (above).
 Four fat scarf sausages!
 I swear that red slub was not magenta.
When I went to drop them off, she told me at the yarn store that she is selling Bernat "Satin" at cost, in red only, to those making the scarves.  So I bought three more skeins. I had hoped it would be one skein per scarf, but I ended up needing almost 1 1/2 per scarf.

 I made the right one first. I started with a racking design but I didn't have the manual handy and I left needles out of work on the mainbed, which wasn't needed. I ended up making a big mistake so took it off and thought it out a bit more. The pattern still isn't quite symmetrical, but it's nice. The other side reads as stockinette, but if you stretch it out, you can sort of see the ribbed stitches.
The one on the left is the tuck lace rib design in the SK155 manual. T2 for both these, on the SK155 (all the scarves were on the SK155 except the original one from the winter, it was on the Memo-matic 327).  Both of these needed quite a bit of steaming.  There is a somewhat big error on the tuck one, right in the middle, I did 4 rows of plain  knitting instead of two. It's not that big of error, I suppose, many would never notice. But I did. We're not perfect.  No one is. 

Yarn In:  300gr + 6523gr = 6823gr
Yarn Out:  590gr + 5195gr = 5785gr
Balance:  1038gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:   $6.75 + $220.79 = $227.54 /306 days = $0.74/day