Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I LOVE Halloween! Even so, I haven't carved a pumpkin in years. I think the last time may have been when I had a Halloween party in 1999. I've always admired the crazy picture-style jack-o'lanterns, so when I came across a set of tools and a pattern booklet for half off last week, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Of course, I always make the mistake of thinking that it's easier than it looks and chose a pattern that was three pumpkins out of four on the scale of difficulty. T thought I was completely crazy for even trying it. Still, for a first effort, I'm pretty proud of it. I also did a smaller one with just stars all over, but I want to tweak it a little before snapping some pix. Next year, I'm going to go all out and do like five of them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

more hats

I finished two hats recently. One is an 'eggplant' hat that I actually started a couple years ago and recently re-discovered in my stash. I debated whether to unravel it or not, but since it was about 3/4 done, I figured it'd probably take me just as much time to unravel and re-wind back onto the skein as it would to finish it. Mostly, I just wanted to reclaim the circular needles they were on. It's the first adult-sized hats that I've made quite some time, so I thought it fitting to model it myself.

The other hat is yet another one for E using some pretty variegated pink ribbon yarn that I bought on impulse about two weeks before she was born. It actually knit up really nicely, although as usual, I made it exactly the right size for her right NOW, which means that it'll probably be too small in a matter of weeks. Oh well, I guess all the more reason to make more, right?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pumpkin mania

My little pumpkinLast weekend, T & I took E to a pumpkin patch to take some photos, even though I already had another trip planned for later in the week with our baby playgroup. Of course, it hit me while I was there that it would be super cute if E had a little pumpkin hat to wear while sitting amongst the pumpkins. So I started feverishly knitting one up before our next trip, which was only 4 days later. Not to brag, but I've gotten pretty fast when it comes to knitting up little baby hats. Of course, it would've gone a lot faster if I hadn't decided to get all fancy and put little ribs into it to simluate the ridges on a real pumpkin. I think I must have started over 3-4 times because I kept changing my mind or something kept going wrong, although right now I can't remember for the life of me what that was. It might have had something to do with the fact that I worked on it mostly after midnight (yes, I have some sleep issues of my own to work out).

In any case, I got about 3/4 of the way done with it before I realized that I did not have any brown or even dark green yarn for the stem. So Wednesday afternoon, I made a quick run to Hobby Lobby while we were already out onl
y to discover that they didn't have the right yarn in brown. Rather than make another stop at the good yarn store (the cranky baby timer was ticking down to its final seconds), I decided to just make do with some cheap 'Sugar n' Cream' yarn. Not even close to the right gauge, but at least it was the right color and right material - 100% cotton. It was a little difficult to work with because it was so much thicker, but I think it turned out pretty well.

I also had a little trouble figuring out the best way to start the decreases with the ribs, and only realized after I'd already decreased
3-4 rows that I probably should have done them before and after the purl stitches. It was way too late and I was way too tired to rip back and do it over, so again, I just made do. I wanted to make a little green leaf too to hang off the stem, but again, did not have the right yarn and also, by the time I finished everything else, including weaving in ends, it was almost 2am. I think next year's hat will be rockstar quality.

Here's a picture of the hat by itself. I also didn't get a chance to block it, so it still looks a little rough. It served its purpose though, and we got a lot of compliments on it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

leg warmer mania!

I knocked out four pairs of leg warmers last night! My friend Meighan gave me two pairs to convert for her daughter, Sofia. Those are pictured at left. And then the other two were, of course, for E. She now officially has more leg warmers than she could possibly ever need, but I couldn't resist the urge to try and have some different colors and styles to go with different outfits. I also really really wanted to find some with skulls on them. I absolutely love the ones on the left with the little pink skulls. They are too funny.

In fact, I have to confess that I bought a three-pack of socks (from Sears, of all places) just to get that specific pair pictured. I also may have ventured into Hot Topic to find some skull socks. And yes, I was definitely the only person over the age of 20. Not one of my finer moments, but hey, at least I wasn't buying the Hello Kitty bra and panties. But I digress. In any case, now that I've made SIX pairs for E and still have two or three more waiting in the wings, I suppose I'll have to lay off for a while. Although I'm still looking for red socks. Why does no one carry red knee socks? And then I'm done. No, really. Meighan has suggested that I start making them for money, but I'm not sure I'm up for it. I'm too much of a perfectionist and I'd feel bad charging money for something that wasn't absolutely professional-looking.

Oh and here's a picture of E wearing one each of the last batch. I definitely have a newfound love for argyle!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Two more...

I'm starting to get better at whipping these out. The solid ones are definitely easier (and faster) to do. The argyle ones were a little harder. I had to give up on matching up the pattern. And somehow, one ended up slightly shorter than the other. I may have to go back and try to fix that...maybe. I'm really starting to hate ripping out stitches. It takes forever and I end up covered in tiny little bits of thread.

Next up: I have one more pair of socks to do. Pink stripey ones! I may have to make another trip to the store tomorrow... Yes, I know that I'm crazy.

More babylegs

The relative success of my first pair of homemade leg warmers got me all excited to make more. So I ran back to Target over the weekend to check out their selection of knee socks. Who knew that knee socks were making such a comeback? In any case, I ended up purchasing four more pairs, although I had to restrain myself to even that many because there were so many cute styles, especially stripey ones. Have I mentioned that I'm kind of obsessed lately with stripey leggings?

Anyways, this is my second effort. These were technically Halloween socks, but E will be wearing them long after Halloween if I have anything to say about it. I did actually narrow the cuff this time, which I think looks nicer and will stay on her legs better, although it did make it more difficult to sew because of the gathering on the 'tube' part. I'm also still having trouble with keeping the stripes even, even after I ripped and re-did one of them. I realize now that I probably should have started with non-stripey socks to get my technique down. More to come...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Sewing Project #2

For some time, I've been coveting a few different styles of baby leg warmers (Babylegs & Huggalugs). But I was also too much of a cheapskate to pay $12-$15/pair, especially when I wasn't sure how they'd fit or even if E would wear them. So I started searching around on Ebay for used ones and discovered that there were a lot of people selling what seemed to be homemade versions. At first, I was confused. They were obviously not handknit, but they were being sold as homemade. I almost bought a pair of Halloween striped legwarmers, but still balked at paying the $10.

A few days later, I was at Target and saw women's knee socks that were the exact same patterns as a lot of the ones I'd seen on Ebay, and a lightbulb went off. Of course! I could just cut off the foot and make my own. I searched around online for directions, but didn't find anything detailed enough. I figured, screw it, I'll just give it a shot and if it doesn't work, I'm only out four bucks. Here is my first effort:

Not exactly professional looking. I'll admit though, I pretty much did it the laziest and most generic way possible. I cut off the foot, just above the heel, folded it over twice, and then did a zigzag stitch around. I discovered that it's pretty freaking hard to keep your seam allowance even when you're trying to sew in a teeny tiny circle. Also, because of where I cut the leg, there was a little bit of flare which became more pronounced after I sewed it down, and they ended up being pretty wide. After trying them on E, I realized that even with her fat little thighs, there was no way they were going to stay up. I thought about just cutting them again beneath the flare, but I worried that then they'd be too short.

Then by coincidence I came across these instructions on a moms board that I'm on, which are absolutely fantastic. This method uses the discarded foot to make an actual cuff, which ends up being the bottom instead of the top. And being the anal retentive person that I am, I of course took out the trusty old seam ripper, spent waaaayyy too much time undoing my work, and tried again. The second try is pictured at left. They're still not as perfect as I'd like (not that anything ever is) as again, it was really hard to keep the seams straight. But the stripes match up for the most part, so I'm happy enough with it. Oh, I should note thought that I did take another lazy shortcut, and instead of cutting the foot and re-sewing it to make the cuff more narrow, I just left it as is. When I tried this new and improved version on E, I did notice that when she's standing, they have a tendency to slip down over her feet. But she still seems to like them.



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