Thursday, February 28, 2013

Love Your Library: February Wrap-Up

Another month had flown by! I cannot believe how fast February went...  despite having a couple less days.

I exceeded  the LYL goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the month... Remember how low I set the bar for myself? Well I wanted to finish the back, but I also finished the top (excluding the sleeves)!
I am a little embarrassed by the poor lighting, but you get the idea:

The front

View of the collar in the back.
I also picked the Devan back up again, I'm at a point where I will be shaping the armholes on the first side soon. I'm not able to share any FOs again this month but I'm sticking to my library!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Valuable Lessons

Another Wednesday and I finally feel like my week has been productive. This is a word heavy post so if you don't read it all I won't be offended. (Not that I'd ever find out... Haha)

I finished the top of the coat for my baby sister, worked on my Devan cardi , and cast on this afternoon for a onesie I'm making for my other son. The green is not as pale as the photo shows. It reminds me of the green hay we bale in the summer; I think it's a very summery shade of green. The top and front of it will have some gray and blue colorwork that I will be knitting using leftovers from this project.

I finished Anton the Dove Fancier. This was an amazing book. The writing was not very complicated but it was very thought provoking. It consisted of short stories about different people the author encountered during the Nazi occupation of Germany and by the end of the book, it left you with a feeling that he seemed to be answering the question of "How could this happen? How did we let this happen?" So here are some of the lessons I got from his stories:

1. Never think, "That could never happen," or "No one would allow that to happen."
2. Your enemy could be your neighbor or friend if the reward is worth it for them.
3. You can find help in the most hopeless of situations.
4. Ignoring the warnings of "doomsday-ers" might lead you to a situation you cannot escape from when they are finally right.
5. "This was a typical Nazi tactic: They tried to confuse us, and they always succeeded." -pg 110
6. To go with #1, never think, "this is the 20th/21st century, those things don't happen anymore." This was what the author's father often said to him before they were confined in a ghetto.

And continuing the theme, I finally started Journey for Freedom. I have been looking forward to reading it ever since we saw the author and heard him tell the story of his defection at an event we went to. He even signed the book for us.

These books really make me appreciate what I have as an American citizen. I am guilty of taking my basic freedoms for granted and reading these personal accounts on the struggle, suffering, and hardship that these strong-willed people lived through really puts a new look at something a lot never even think twice about. I highly recommend both of these books.

Until next time, have a wonderful week! Click the buttons below for more projects.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Toddler's Finn the Human Hat Pattern

Since I haven't had the opportunity to knit an adult sized version of this hat, I thought I would post what I have for the tot size, in hopes of getting some test knits going from the online knitting community in an effort to get some feedback on how I wrote the pattern.

Materials used:
150 grams chunky weight white yarn
Size 8US circulars, size 8US double points (dpns needed for the ear nubs)

Some notes before you start:
I originally did not knit the bottom that long. You can see in the photo where I picked up the bottom stitches and added length so that it actually covered my son's neck. I also had to go back and pick up the face hole stitches since there was a huge gaping hole that did not hold its shape. See:
Gross and yuck.

 So feedback on how to get it right the first time would be helpful.

For toddler:
CO 75 on US 8 circulars or double points, knit in round:
(This is the section I went back and added later:
Knit row
Purl row
Repeat until piece is about 6" long. The garter stitch prevents it from rolling up.
Increase 10 evenly around next row.)
Knit until it measures 5.5" (stockinette stitch for remainder of hat)
At the beginning of next row, knit 15, BO 7, knit rest of row
Turn and purl to last 4sts, BO 4
Knit row to last 4 sts, BO 4
Purl row to last 3, BO 3
Knit row to last 3, BO 3
Purl row
Knit row
Repeat until face opening of hat is about 4.5" long
With RS facing, Knit 2, inc 1, k1, inc 1, knit to last four sts, inc 1, k1, inc 1, knit 2
Next row purl
Repeat the last two rows two more times. Twelve sts added.
Beginning of next 2 rows, CO 3, work stockinette to end of row
With RS facing, CO 3, work in round joining ends to knit in stockinette for 3 rows in the round.
At this point, you should have the face hole complete and be working the top of the hat with 85 total sts.
Decrease 10 evenly in next row.
Knit 1 row
Decrease 10 evenly again. 75 total sts.

Dividing off for ear nubs:
Place markers to indicate your 20 center front sts while knitting next row.

What I had after dividing for ear nubs.
As you can see I hadn't extended the bottom yet.

*Note: if you have experience knitting mittens dividing off for thumbs is essentially the technique I am doing for the ear nubs.*

While knitting next row, when you get to the place markers, slip 10 sts to a st holder, knitting to within 10 of next st market and placing those ten sts on a st holder.
Knit 55, keeping the 20 sts on holders to the outside of the round.
Knit the not rows, then decrease as follows:
Knit 5, Dec, repeat to end of row
K row
K4, Dec, repeat to end of row
K row
K3, Dec, repeat to end of row
K row
K2, Dec, repeat to end of row
K row
Next row bind off

Ear Nubs:
Pick up ten sts of one ear nub. Knit 10 rows in the round.
Row 11: k1, dec, repeat to end of row
Bind off.
Repeat for second nub.

Finish face hole edge one of two ways:
Option 1 (how I did it):
Pick up sts around sides and top edges (3/4 of the way around), knit one row, decreasing by 1 (k2tog) twice in top left and top right curves, total of for decreases..
Bind off

Option 2, which I have not tried:
Finish with i-cord around entire face opening edge.

The finished product:
What the back looks like

You can kind of get an idea of what the front looks like.

I couldn't get a good photo of the front since he was in constant motion. The photo above is from trick or treating though.

Good luck! Feedback needed! Thank you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Get to Know Me

I know I don't talk about myself much on here, but it's kind of intentional. However, I know some people might be interested in who the heck is the person behind the needles so I am doing an 11 question post because one of my favorite bloggers has good questions.

  1. How did you choose your first child’s name? (If you don’t have any kids yet, what do you want to name your first born?) Both kiddos are named after saints from the first Eucharistic prayer.  Our first was named after a fifth century martyr. I will tell you that his middle name is Augustine, named so because we had him before we were married and while Augustine was rather promiscuous and naughty, he eventually converted and became a great, holy man and theologian.
  2. If money wasn’t an option, where would you love to live? My grandparents sold their farm in upstate NY a few years ago. I would buy it back and move there in a heartbeat.
  3. What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done? I had the toughest time memorizing my music for my cello recitals. One year, I forgot my music entirely and no matter how many cues my teacher played me I just sat there on stage redder than a tomato barely holding back the tears. I think I was in seventh or eighth grade.
  4. What catch-phrases annoy you? How about filler words. "Like" inserted wherever someone would normally breathe annoys me.
  5. Do you have any phobias? Grasshoppers/locusts/anything related to grasshoppers. Don't ask why. I couldn't tell you.
  6. What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? I haven't been to many good concerts. Freshman year of college I went to enough concerts of local bands and I gotta say, I liked mine the best...haha. My friend convinced me to play my cello for the band. There were six of us and we were pretty awesome. We even self recorded some EPs but that only lasted a year. My close friend's brother's band had pretty good concerts although I'm not big on screamo so... there you go.
  7. Do you believe in love at first sight? I didn't until I laid eyes on my husband for the first time.
  8. High school – loved it? Or hated it? Loved it mostly for the things that had nothing to do with school. Color guard, speech team, volunteering at the humane society, biking and winter camping trips with school were great.
  9. Do you have a funny auto correct story to share? I wish I could remember it. My mom's auto correct did something funny when she first learned how to text but that was a few years ago.
  10. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be? Maybe the Nuremberg trials. The movie is so good, I think that going back and seeing it for real would be just amazing/heart wrenching all at once.
  11. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Go back to school to get an RN degree. Working. With two tots. I just got my letter saying I'm an alternate for the fall, so if someone drops out my journey begins. How will I do it? There's an awful lot of coffee in my future...

Making Headway

Another Wednesday already... Where does the time go?
I am done with the individual pieces for the top of the coat and now I'm working on them all together as I do the collar. So, things are looking good.
A real book folks! Made of paper! I can hardly contain my excitement.

I've also just cracked open Anton the Dove Fancier and other tales from the Holocaust. It was highly  recommended by my mother in law.  I am also plugging away at the Catechism each day.
Here is a snippet from Monday:
898 "By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will. ... It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer."
899 The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life.

Click to see more projects:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine Craft

I realize this is late for the Valentine holiday but you can do this for other ones as well. You could even use these as ornaments if you wanted. I originally saw this in a craft magazine from the 50s.

1. Start with a water/corn starch mixture. 1c water boiled with 1/3 c corn starch turned out well for me.  Originally I started with a 1/2c water and 1/3c starch but as you can see, there was too much starch and I let it cook too long. You could also use a water/glue base but I don't think you'd be heating it then.

If it looks like this, throw it out and try again.

2. Add a long piece of yarn and make sure it is well coated. 

3. Take the yarn out. You may need to run it through your fingers to remove any lingering chunks of corn starch if you have a hard time dissolving it. 
Very toddler friendly project!

4. Arrange in a festive or seasonal cookie cutter. The glue mixture cools quickly so you can use your bare hands at this point.

5. Let dry on wax paper. This will take at least 24 hours. Our wetter hearts took longer, but after setting them on a sunny table the drying didn't take so long.

6. String the dried hearts on some twine, yarn, or fishing line.

Heart in foreground made from sock weight yarn.

7. When the holiday is over you can reuse them as Christmas ornaments or save them to make homemade Valentines next year, anniversary cards, get creative.

Despite being just as wet as the worsted weight yarn, the sock weight yarn turned out firmest when dried and worked best for the project overall because it coated well. My 2.5 year old had so much fun I had to cut him off. The homemade glue mixture cooled quickly so I did not need to worry about him getting burned. 

This is a great project if you don't mind a little mess.
Happy crafting!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Snow and Progress

Well we got hit with some snow here in Wisconsin but only about half a foot. I was hoping for a little more...
I finished the back piece to the vintage coat I'm making for my S-I-L so that she's got something adorable to wear on her 2nd birthday in the fall.
The remaining stitches will be used later for the collar once the front pieces are made and sewn together.

I'm still just reading the catechism. Check out the button to your right if you want to too!
The man of the house and I just started watching Duck Dynasty and we are hooked. It's a reality show but it is hilarious, and despite the people being a bunch of multi-million dollar rednecks, the kids are growing up in wealth and seeing what the grandparents are doing to try and keep them from becoming " spoiled rich snobs" has us laughing to tears for a lot of episodes. I appreciate the fact that, despite having so much money, the dad buys his son a used car instead of a brand new one when he gets tired of his son using his truck all the time. Thought I should share that since so many keep talking about Downtown Abbey. Hahaha!

As always, more here:
          Just click!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI: You Will Be Missed

We love Pope Benedict

A friend of mine from college wrote a beautiful post about the Holy Father's resignation. You can read it here. I will be praying for his health and the decision of who our new pope will be.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stitch Tutorial: Linen Stitch

This is the linen stitch. I learned it for a pattern I'm currently working on.

 The front is very flat although it had a very neat look to the texture the stitches create.
 The back is very textured. I really like the look and think either side could be used for the front of a project.

You will need an even number of stitches so that you start all your rows with a knit or purled stitch and end every row ends with a slipped stitch.
The pattern is: *k1, yarn to front, slip 1,* repeat to end of row.

Knit 1

Yarn to front, slip 1
Return yarn to back, knit again to continue the pattern

Next row: *p1, yarn to back, slip1,* repeat to end of row.

Purl 1

Yarn to back, slip 1

Rows must end with a slipped stitch

Happy knitting!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Because these Instructions were Impossible to Find Elsewhere...

I had the hardest time figuring out how to add custom buttons to my sidebar and since I finally figured it out last night I'm posting instructions now for my fellow technologically deficient peers out there... Also, the instructions I found online were mostly for writing the HTML text for your own button which is way above my head.

Step 1
Click on your blog title, then go to "Layout" on your left sidebar.

Step 2
Click on " Add a Gadget."

Step 3
In the Basics list, click on "HTML/JavaScript."

Step 4
Copy-paste the HTML code for the button. Click on "Save."


Click on "Rich Text." Copy-paste the photo/icon you want to show up as your button. Highlight the photo. Click on the button with the world and the chain and  copy the website URL into the text box where you want the button to take you. Click "Save."
Adding a title is optional. Blogger does not require one to make the button.

Go to your blog and test the button you just made.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Yarn Along: More Frogging, More Reading

I frogged on this project yet again, but this time it was only about four rows so... hoo-rah... and the frog count is up to five.

Got yarn ordered for the Devan sweater I have been itching to make. The first attempt did not jive well with me.
I special ordered the recommended DGB brand sock yarn since I couldn't find cheaper,  more local yarn that patterned the way I envisioned.  I'm hoping I won't regret this $40 decision...

 I also started a book cover two weeks ago and finished it this week:

A tutorial for lace book covers can be found here!

Plugging away at the Catechism for the time being.  The library hasn't received my ordered copy of Cutting for Stone yet.
While reading about the Church here on earth I came across this gem which I feel compelled to share from Article 9, paragraph 2, 77:

"She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the labor and pain of her long exile may have discolored her, yet heaven's beauty has adorned her."

Even in this corrupted world,  even being corrupted through distance from God and influenced by flawed people,  His Church is still beautiful and God still favors and looks after His followers. I thought this passage was so poetically written.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February Love Your Library

Since January was a month of epic knitting fail for me,  I think I need to set my bar lower this month... sorry for the pessimism,  but I've got a lot on my plate.

The plan this month?  Get the back done on my little sister in law's  vintage coat.

To look more like this: 

With a heck of a lot less frogging. More here:

2.9.13 Edit: Once I get my yarn in the mail I will be working on my Devan cardi this month as well.

Lace Book Cover Tutorial

I made a cover for my missal, since it is so old and delicate.
Here's how to make a nice lace cover for any book.

First, knit your swatch and check your gauge.  I originally counted 13 stitches per inch.  (Even looking at that photo you can see how wrong that is! )

Next measure your book: 

I measured 6.25". Do the math. Stitches per inch (13) x height of book (6.25). I came up with 81.25 stitches, or 82. This seemed rather high. I re-counted my gauge for three inches instead of one, divided the stitches by 3 and got 6.7 sets per inch, or 44 for 6.25 inches. This turned out to be a much more accurate number.

Next, pick a pattern of lace to use for your book cover.  If you don't already have one,  check out this website for lace patterns.  I used this one. Any picture you click on at that website will give you a larger photo and the pattern. 

Divide the total number of stitches that you calculated by the amount needed for one lace repetition. Here's mine: 
14 = 3.14. My lace pattern will repeat three times.

My math sheet: 

Ok. Since 44 stitches was my number, I cast on'll need to CO double your number in order for it to go completely around the cover.
Tip: the website I linked to for the lace patterns has instructions written as "Multiple of x stitches plus x stitch(es)." This means at the end of each repetition,  not at the end of your lace row. I had too few stitches since I read it the wrong way.  I should have had at least 45 stitches on the lace side. Once I realized that,  I corrected it by making an extra stitch. 
 Now you can begin the fun! 

Materials used: 
US 2 (2.75mm) double point needles or circulars if knitting for a larger book
1 skein sock yarn or other light weight yarn; I used Patons Grace sock yarn
Your book
Measuring tape or ruler
 Start with the following cast on method:

After you have cast on,  knit one full row. 
Now, knit one needle and begin your lace pattern on your second needle. 
Instead of purling the row following each of your lace rows you will knit until you have one full repetition of your lace. 
Like so: 

The following row, knit 2, bind off until there are two stitches left on that needle,  knit 2, continue your lace. 

This is what it should look like when you try it on your book: 

Now you will be purling on your WS as your instructions say. Continue your lace, knitting the two stitches at either end, until you have knit long enough to cover around your entire book, within about 1.5-2" of the edge of the back cover. 

Be careful not to let your stitches fall off your needle like mine ^

Knit one more row of your lace,  then cast on the amount of stitches you bound off earlier.  I recommend casting on half the needed stitches and then increasing evenly to how much you actually need since this edge ends up looser than the first edge.
Knit one more lace repetition,  then turn your work so the wrong side is facing you and use a three needle cast off. Weave in loose ends. 

There you have it! I would probably recommended a solid color yarn so your lace is shown off  better. 

3 Needle Cast Off Tutorial

1. Start with your work inside out, or wrong sides facing:

2. Insert third needle through both of the first stitches,  wrapping the yarn around the needle to make a stitch. You are essentially making a knit- 2-together with the stitches from both needles. 

3. Do this again,  so you have two stitches on the third needle: 

4. Using one of your needles you have your stitches on,  pass the first stitch over the second:
My apologies for the poor photo quality on this one. 
5. After passing the first stitch over,  this is what you should have: 

Repeat steps 3-5 until the end of your row. It should produce a nice clean edge: 

When finished,  weave in your loose end and turn right side out.