Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A WIP and an FO

I've made it through my first week and a half of my new semester of nursing school. We will be very busy. But most of the busyness is under my control so I am feeling alright about how things will go this fall. However, things might be pretty quiet around here until the holidays roll around. I'll try to check in every once in a while. Or maybe I'll be doing this more if knitting becomes a stress reliever.

I managed to finish the dragon. He's been modeling on my 2014 FO page since Saturday. I started out not being too excited about how the yarn was patterning during assembly but now he's really  starting to grow on me. Given the nature of the yarn his tail is also not as stiff as the dragon I made for my son.

 Can you see the gaps between the stitches where the stuffing shows through? If you look close you can see on the second front-facing photo.

I also made progress on the cardigan for my cousin and have joined up the body under the arms. Also, this yarn is so much fun. I'm hoping to do a September yarn review on it. Speaking of yarn reviews, I just did one this week in case you missed it. I reviewed the yarn I used for my son's dragon so if you're interested go take a look.

An up-close, though blurry, on the cables.

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  http://www.gsheller.com/2014/08/yarn-along-191.html

Monday, August 25, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 24: Lion Brand Amazing

What is YRM: I honestly believe there are good things and bad things about every type of yarn, no matter how much you save or how much you break the bank. 

This is for the lay-knitter, not professionals. This is for people like me who might not necessarily be fiber experts despite being a crocheter or knitter for a long time, but need an honest opinion about yarn before they dive into a project with it.



The yarn: Lion Brand Amazing

  • 53% wool, 47% acrylic
  • 50 grams, 1.75 ounces;  147 yards, slightly less than 135 meters
  • Colorway: Constellation




The project: Tarragon the Gentle Dragon



What I liked:It was perfect for the project. It has some fuzz to it which fills in between my stitches so the stuffing doesn't show through. It feels a little tougher and gives me the impression that the toy will be able to withstand being thrown around and hugged, and whatever else a two-year old can think of doing to it. I made it at the beginning of August. My son got it within days after I finished him, and despite play and cuddles, the dragon looks just as new as it did four weeks ago. Also, the colors are really blended but the pops of mustard and brilliant blue (check out his little arms!) really make this yarn exciting.

What I didn't like:  It's kind of scratchy. I'm glad I decided not to use it for the project I originally bought it for because I think it would have been uncomfortable to wear. I originally bought it for the Devan cardigan but the color variations were too subtle for the pattern so I saved it in stash for over a year. I had to frog it once after I decided not to use it for the cardigan last year and I'm glad I didn't have to do it again. This is because of the subtle fuzz. It sticks to itself once you knit with it and I ended up having to cut part of it since I couldn't frog all the way back.
Affordability:  I bought mine at JoAnn Fabric & Crafts. The Lion Brand website has it available for $8.29/ skein. I don't remember paying that much for it when I bought it though. Two colorways are available in 3-skein packs for 50% off right now through the Lion Brand website too.
Rating: The yarn is kind of rough to the touch. I think that this yarn is perfect for toys, accessories, and other small projects that don't require you to wear them for very long. It isn't because the yarn isn't pretty; there are a lot of really beautiful colors available. It is the texture that gets a little bothersome.





Like toys, for example...



For a complete list of Yarn Reviews, click below:

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this or asked to review this yarn by any store or the company itself. Opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's a(nother) hoot!

Oh how I love a tacky title. But really. I love knitting this cute little sweater. So I cast on another one for my cousin's baby and I'm giving away the first one I made for her to the church sale. Plus, I couldn't pack my new skein of yarn away with the rest of my stash.


Also, I added the back legs and eyes to the dragon. Since those were the smallest buttons I had for it, his eyes are a bit large but they cover up some of the gaps in the picked up stitches so I'm feeling a little better about this little guy.


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Monday, August 18, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 23: Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Glow



Photo true to yarn color
What is YRM: I honestly believe there are good things and bad things about every type of yarn, no matter how much you save or how much you break the bank. 

This is for the lay-knitter, not professionals. This is for people like me who might not necessarily be fiber experts despite being a crocheter or knitter for a long time, but need an honest opinion about yarn before they dive into a project with it.


The yarn: Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Glow

  • 97% alpaca, 3% other (no doubt referring to the tiny sparkle running through the yarn)
  • 100 grams, 3.5 ounces;  110 yards, slightly less than 100 meters
  • Colorway: 9271 (a rich chocolatey brown)




The project: Luckiest Day (for design elements) combined with Packard (for the raglan style) sweater patterns by Maura Kirk


Photo true to yarn color

What I liked: The yarn is so soft and plush. It is bulky weight and lives up to it (I mentioned in the last yarn review that the Cascade seemed to be less bulky after putting it in a skein...not so with this yarn!). It has beautiful, rich color and I love the extra little sparkle running through it. I'm not a fan of sparkly yarn but this had just a little bit to make it interesting and give it a little feminine touch. Sometimes yarn doesn't feel as soft once you put it on since your fingers are calloused, or at least less sensitive, from using them every day of your life. Then when you put on your thneed which you worked so hard on, it itches and you never wear it. This is not that yarn. I love it around my neck and it almost feels softer when I wear it than it did when I was working with it.

What I didn't like: It sheds. Every time I've tried on this sweater to show off for my husband, in-laws, grandparents, etc I always end up with tiny fibers in my face (thank you, glasses), in my mouth, and on my shirts. It does not shed a lot. It sheds hardly at all. But we all know a little bit can go a long way and a few fibers off this plushy, heavenly yarn can drive me nuts for an hour before I find it and pick it off of me. I'm still wearing my rose colored glasses though (still loving this yarn), and while the shedding is very minor, someone with sensitivities might have problems. I think I'm just nit picking instead of critiquing now, but I can always use more yarn and the skeins were on the small side.

Affordability:
 I bought mine at The Yarn Bank in Taylor's Falls, MN. It was $16/skein, give or take a couple cents.

Rating: The softness won me over the instant I buried my fingers into it at the store. It is so wonderful to wear. I really hope to use it again soon.
I think this yarn would also be great for baby blankets and small children's clothing.













For a complete list of Yarn Reviews, click below:



 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this or asked to review this yarn by any store or the company itself. Opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not Much Knitting

I haven't done much knitting this week. My grandparents have been staying with my parents since last Wednesday and I took the kiddos down to visit for four days. I purposely did not bring any WIPs. My grandmother got my attention: her mobility has diminished substantially over the last year and family takes priority over work, school, and yes, even my knitting. (My grandfather on the other hand? "He's eighty going on sixty" my grandmother kept telling me. He kept up with the boys without a problem.)

I did finish the spines and wings on the dragon though. I'm feeling a little better about it although once I finish I'll share photos of everything, the weak points especially so I can get some feedback on whether I should keep it or donate it to the craft sale.


I also stopped by Mrs. I's for some yarn and buttons:

Lots of wooden buttons

And finished a couple projects by adding buttons. Well, I finished one project. The other one needs just two more buttons.


I also switched the buttons on my sweater. I like it a lot better now:

Before
After






















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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Craft Sale Knitting

I'm working on some toys. The women at church had a meeting on Monday morning (that I did not attend) to discuss what to have at the craft sale in December. I ran into one of the main get-'er-done women the day before though and offered my knitting services. So I cast on for another dragon. I have been busy since I started though so I haven't gotten too far. The spikes are in progress at the moment.

I'm not wild about the yarn and pattern combo. The self patterning on the dragon looked cooler in my head than how it's turning out, and despite using the same needles I did the last time I used this yarn, there are a lot of gaps in places that shows the stuffing. I tried removing some fluff to fix the problem but it just looked floppy and messy. Once I finish I'll have to think about whether to actually give it to the sale or chalk it up as a failure.

 Here are the other toys I plan to make. All links are patterns on Ravelry.

A cat
A family of mice
An elephant

And I might cast on another Hoot cardigan for the sale too if I get all of those projects done before I start school again on the 18th. The sale is to raise money for the church, so all these projects will be donations.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monsters Inc. Birthday Cake

Another year has gone by, which means my son gets a cake decorated as awesomely as possible by yours truly. He's turning two and he loves anything with monsters. Monsters Inc. is his favorite movie right now so I made him a cake with Mike and Sully.

Mike is only partially on it, just like on the commercial and the magazine cover he's on in the movie, as well as in his school pictures and student ID like in Monsters University. Sully is just big and hairy just like he is in the movies.

I used one box mix of cake and one regular container of vanilla icing. I had a tube of black gel icing for writing too. Other things needed: food coloring and plastic sandwich bags.

Mix three drops of yellow with one drop of green food coloring into about 1/4-1/3c of icing. This is the icing for Mike's head. Spread evenly over about 1/3 of the cake.

Mix three drops of green dye with four drops of blue dye with about half the container of icing for Sully's fur. Put all the turquoise icing in a plastic baggie and snip a small piece from the corner. Squeeze small lines on the un iced portion of the cake. Gently spread it together so there is a thin layer of icing. Now pipe the rest of the turquoise in the baggie over the same area you just covered, saving enough for the iris on Mike's eye.
Using the black gel, draw Sully's nose and the pupil of Mike's eye. Pipe turquoise icing around the pupil to make his iris.

Set aside a small portion of undyed icing for the irises in Sully's eyes. Using a second plastic baggie, add undyed icing and cut a larger hole in the corner than you did for the first bag. Pipe a large band of white around Mike's iris and two wide circles for Sully's cornea. Smooth over the colors for Mike.

Take the icing you set aside and due it a dark turquoise using a green and blue combo, with more blue than green. Put it in the first bag you used for the turquoise color and pipe it over the white of his eyes and pipe on a smile. Add black for his pupils.

Smooth over any lines on Sully's nose or mouth. Everything else on Sully should be textured. Make sure Mike looks very smooth.

Piece of cake...

Friday, August 1, 2014

One Skein Wonder

I cast on for this little dragon on Wednesday afternoon. I just finished the cute little guy.

Amazingly, it took less than 50g of yarn. Quite a bit less. I started with 147 yards of Lion Brand Amazing and I have 3/4 of the skein left. Now that is amazing!

I made him for my son's birthday next week. He is my monster loving, dragon loving, dinosaur loving little two year old (almost) and it only took two and a half days to make.





Here's the link to the Ravelry pattern page. It's free.