Posts Tagged ‘update’

27
Feb

Why You Should be a Knitting Needle Snob

Posted under Knitting, Product Reviews, Techniques No Comments

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It’s all just sticks and string, so why hunt down the ‘best’ needles? Why not just use what’s most readily available? Or those vintage needles you came across? People have been knitting for hundreds of years on all sorts of things. Some of my favorite traditional knits are the Andean chullos traditionally knit on hook ended needles made of baling wire. And I’ve personally knit on toothpicks, paperclips, large dowels, and even porcupine spines! If any old stick will work, why pay more for those needles? It’s the yarn that goes into the finished piece, so isn’t the yarn the only thing you should be splurging on?

NOPE. Your needles and pattern are just as important and very much worth spending a few extra bucks to have quality because it will very much show in your finished object, even if those needles aren’t going to be a permanent part of the project, they’re just as important as the yarn. Good needles can make a bad knitter’s work look better and a great knitter’s work look horrible, just by being good or bad needles!

I’m currently working on designing a new hat using a stitch I’ve created. It’s a lovely hat and I’m sure you’ll all want to knit it when it’s released. The first hat was knit from a ball of variegated bulky weight yarn, a long on color yarn that when used with such a stitch count creates beautiful stripes. I do love the stripes, but it makes it a bit harder to appreciate the detail of the new decrease and how well it works in ribbing. As such, I purchased a new ball of yarn, the same exact brand, but in a solid color.

The first multicolor hat was knit on a set of double pointed needles and I had a bit of trouble with stitches popping right off the ends of the needles until I hit the crown decreases. It was just too many stitches for the needles. When I was out in the snow picking up the solid colored ball of yarn, I also grabbed a set of 16″ circulars in the same size. Of course I had to get a different brand as no big box shop carries the brand double point I’d been using.

The second I got home, I cast on for the new solid color hat. I’d like it done and photographed as soon as possible so I can share the pattern with you all. When I got into the knitting a ways, I stopped. Something didn’t look right at all. I compared the in-progress hat to my completed one. YEP. Something’s horribly wrong. The stitches are all correct and the new color has much better stitch definition than the multicolored yarn,  but the new needles ruined it! I was over halfway through the body of the hat section too, so it’s a bit sad to rip out. That’s probably an hour and a half of work.

Here’s a close up of the first hat’s stitches. This bit is plain k1p1 ribbing.

Multicolor hat stitches

It’s beautiful, right? The stitches are even, uniform and straight. Now, here’s the same exact pattern and size hat knit in the same brand of 100% acrylic yarn one day later by the same knitter on different needles. Neither piece has been blocked.

solid hat stitches

 

Can you see the differences? The blue one looks horrible. The stitches are crooked with the left leg dominant. It’s wider and sticks up from the fabric more than the right one. Some stitches are more squat, some are taller, and some are just plain wonky.

The needle change also affected gauge in addition to the shape of individual stitches. The multicolor hat has 9 ribs in 4 inches where as the blue one has 8 ribs in 4 inches.

Gauge of multicolor ribbed hat

Gauge of solid ribbed hat

Changing needle brands means redoing your gauge swatch. Changing brands of knitting needles, particularly if that includes a change of knitting needle material, requires redoing your swatch. While only one rib, two stitches, in four inches doesn’t seem like much, in bulky yarn over enough stitches for an adult sized hat, that equates to adding about two and a half inches to the circumference of the hat. That’s huge!

Ribbed Hat difference with ruler

I know the ruler here only shows one and a quarter inches difference, but you’ve got to multiply that by two since there’s two layers under that ruler. Even if it were only an inch off though, that’d surely be enough for a strong wind to carry your hat away while out walking the dog on a brisk winter day.

What are the things that matter about a pair of needles? Generally the tips and the material. How sharp are the needles? How smooth are they? Do the cables have good flex yet aren’t too soft if they’re circulars? Here’s the needles I used for these hats.

Sharps versus Clover

 

The taper on the tip is nearly identical between these needles which is why I was willing to give the cheap and most importantly immediately available ones a chance. The metal ones have a slightly sharper tip, but almost imperceptibly so. The big failure here is that the bamboo needles are a little sticky. Not sticky like they were covered in toddler hand goo, but more in that the yarn doesn’t slide freely down the needle. You’ve got to stop and readjust the knitting to move more stitches to the top. The stitches don’t slide over the join from the cable and back up over the needle well either.

So, what are these needles of win and doom that are making and breaking such a hat? Surely one cost four or five times what the other did, right? Not at all actually. At regular prices one is $8.99USD and the other is $11.50USD with the $11.50 ones being the better ones. Of course given that the cheap ones are from a big box shop though, you could use a 40% off coupon on them which is exactly what I did as it was the only thing I was buying at that shop. That drops them down to $5.40 which means the better needles still are less than twice the cost of the bad ones! Here they are, the hat-ruining Clover bamboo needles and the wonderful but harder-to-come-by HiyaHiya Sharps made of stainless steel.

Clover and Sharps

So what are your favorite brands? What needles will you avoid at all costs? Do you have any problems with allergies to knitting needle materials? I adore the Addi needles, but I have trouble with the nickel in them. I’ve tried their brass line as well, but the smell drives me bonkers!

Lastly, keep in mind that yarn can vary in thickness even within the same brand and weight, so when changing between colors, you might want to redo your gauge swatch too, even if you’re using the same needles. Multicolor acrylics are notoriously thinner than their solid counterparts. If anyone knows why this is, I’d love to know!

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22
Feb

Fair Projects for 2015

Posted under Charity, Crochet, Knitting, Life, Models, Paper Crafting, Sewing and Quilting, Woodworking No Comments

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It’s getting to be the time of year when you’ve got to start thinking about what projects you’re going to be making for your county and state fairs. Ideally you’d start too as working right up to the deadline is never fun, though it seems to happen more often than I’d like!

So far, most of my projects are rather bland looking, but I promise there are colorful projects coming too!


natural colored projects

Here we have a lace baby sweater which will ultimately be part of a three-piece set, a knit lace doily, and a crochet lace bag all in progress.

I’ve also been working on filling the first of three bobbin lace pillows I’m making for myself. I really enjoy the bobbin lace beginners kit I got for Christmas, but the failings of a beginner ‘pillow’ are more than apparent. I done some research on the best and longest lasting bobbin lace pillows and how they’re made. Then, I presented this information to my physical therapist and we worked out a stand set up to prevent any undue stress on my body. Now I’m building that stand and pillow set up! This is the first pillow in progress.

bobbin lace pillow stuffing

 

Kaia seemed rather displeased with my pillow stuffing as a few bits of straw landed on her in her bed!

dog with straw

The pillows are filled with natural straw cut into 4″ or shorter pieces. Cutting the straw is a painful and dull process, and stuffing the pillows is painful and slow going as a result, but when they’re done, I’m going to have fantastic traditional bobbin lace pillows, a standard 24″ cookie pillow and a more rectangular pillow with a roller in the back for making yardage. The pillow above is the roller that will go into the rectangular pillow. The exterior is a natural canvas material sewn into a tube with drawstrings on either end. Inside, there is a dowel running the length and I have two discs cut from 1/4″ plywood. One disc is already in place at the bottom of the pillow and the other will go in just before cinching up the other drawstring. The dowel sticks out a few inches on either side which is how it will connect to the support pillow.

The last big WIP keeping me busy lately is a paper craft project. Some friends asked me to make a 4′ tall LEGO minifig as a decoration for a Boy Scout party in March. After that party, the gigantic LEGO man will be a county and state fair entry for me before finally being sold to the highest bidder to fund some new LEGO sets for me! The main framework of the minifig is cardboard sheeting from Costco. Some of guy pal’s friends from work taught me how to use anti-fatigue mat foam to create the complex curves and gave me some foam to use for the project. Atop the cardboard and foam frame is paper maché. This will create a surface I can sand to a perfect finish. With the glossy paint a LEGO minifig has, any imperfections in the body will show. That’s why I’m doing the paper maché coating. There will likely be some spackle to help fill any gaps prior to sanding as well. Here’s the first two pieces being coated in paper maché, the head (which is upside down in this photo) and one of the arms. They’re the most curvy pieces and thus require the most paper maché to get perfectly smooth.

LEGO head and arm WIP

 

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09
Mar

Ravellenic Hat and Mittens Set

Posted under Knitting No Comments

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Something about the idea of a handmade, matched hat and mittens set just grabbed me when I was first learning to knit in 2010. I found some absolutely crazy rainbow stretchy yarn and started experimenting. After a dozen or so restarts, I finally designed a simple hat that fit well using it. I bought some solid black yarn and set it aside as well so I’d be able to make some matching mittens. I certainly wasn’t a good enough knitter to make the mittens yet, much less to do them without a pattern.

While tidying up my office space nearly four years later during the Ravellenic Games, I came upon the hat, still with unwoven loose ends, the black ball of yarn, and the remnant ball of rainbow stretchy yarn. I needed to knit some mittens for my Mittens Moguls medal, so I figured, why not? I whipped up these cute mittens in no time.

Then, I decided I didn’t actually like the hat made using just the rainbow yarn. I carefully picked out the cast on edge, unraveled the hat just enough to remove the brim, and then reknit the rolled brim using the remainder of the solid black yarn.

I love it! It’s just perfect and exactly what I envisioned so long ago when I was planning out my first matched hat and mittens set.

Feeling ready to make your own hat and mitten sets? Leisure Arts has a great book out called Snow Day Sets to Knit. It’s an ebook you can download and start knitting from right away. All the patterns call for worsted weight yarns like Red Heart Super Saver or Cascade 220, so they’re perfect for the beginner to make with easy to find yarn. Best of all? All the patterns are written for both working flat on two needles and seaming at the end OR working in the round on four double-pointed needles. Even if you’ve never worked in the round before, you CAN make your first hat and mittens set with this book! Like this featured set!

And as an added bonus for my readers? How about 15% off the purchase of your Leisure Arts order? Just use this code, ART15,  and save 15% off your entire order from Leisure Arts! Hurry as this discount offer ends March 30, 2014!

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01
Mar

New Month, New Projects

Posted under Life, Sewing and Quilting, Spinning No Comments

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It’s officially the first of the month, though I’ve got to say as I’ve not slept yet it’s feeling a lot like February still. I am taking advantage of the time I need to stay up to make sure the laundry gets done so I’ve got work shirts tomorrow. The Craft Yarn Council just changed up my class offerings in a big way, so I’ll be doing a demonstration tomorrow looking for class signups and working on some of the new samples. Tomorrow looks like it’ll be pom pom rug making day.

I started spinning a wonderful single of natural colored BFL wool which will become a 2-ply light fingering weigh yarn for my mom to knit into a scarf for my grandmother. I’d spun some yarn before, but as a DK weight yarn, I’m afraid it’ll be too thick and warm for her to wear in Southern California. Thanks to my new electric spinner, I’m almost done with the first ply, about 45 grams of wool if I recall correctly. Not too bad for a quick evening spin!

IMG_4609

 

When I needed to get up to change the laundry, the yarn kept coming undone when I wrapped it around my flyer like normal. It’s not the most wonderful way to hold the yarn when you have to get up, but sometimes it works. Then I thought about the package of new clamps I’d just ordered sitting right beside my wheel. Perfect. They’re just easy enough to open without sacrificing clamping power for me to be in love with them. Then as an added bonus? I find out the reinforced nylon handles weigh just enough to keep the very high twist yarn from untwisting under the weight of the clamp on the platform. I clipped the yarn into the clamp and then just set the clamp down. You can’t get an easier and more foolproof way of setting your spinning aside! I’ll definitely be keeping one of these guys in my spinning supply box from now on. I’ll post a full review of the new clamps too once I get to try them on my woodworking, but I figured you guys would love to see my new spinning solution!

Then, since I just tossed my work clothes into the dryer, I figured I’d get some fabric I bought last week into the wash so I can cut it up and get sewing. My physical therapist has a small pillow which we use every week under my shoulder because I can’t lay flat on my back on a hard surface without something under my right shoulder. The pillow in question here is an airline pillow that was stolen ages ago and is starting to really show it’s age in the fragile from the start blue cover. It’s just falling to shreds. So I’m going to make a pair of washable covers for his extra positioning pillow!

Here’s the fabric I picked out for him.

IMG_4603

 

The black with glow-in-the-dark skeleton fabric will be for the body of the pillow. Then, for the border along the open edge, I found this wonderful black and white grid which to me looks a lot like graph paper. I think it’s the perfect combination. We’ve got the anatomical organic shapes from the human body and it’s infinite complexity mixed with the rather stark, mathematical grid of the relatively nonsensical numerical grades and measurements for everything to keep insurance companies happy. Sure, it’s a little deep for a pillowcase, but I’m thrilled with it so far. It can only get better from here. Plus, it looks like I should have enough fabric leftover to make a cover for my equivalent little pillow at home and maybe a couple ice pack covers for me too! Sometimes little treats like a goofy ice pack cover can make all the difference on a high pain day.

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25
Feb

So you want to sell your knits?

Posted under Knitting, Life No Comments

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One of the things my advanced students ask me about the most is how they can make money with their knitting. So many enjoy knitting countless baby socks or scarves or shawls but then have no idea what to do with them all. There’s only so many scarves I need in my wardrobe and only so many more I can gift to the knit-worthy folks on my list. It’s not too wild of a leap to realize you need to sell some of these handknits to be able to buy more yarn and keep your needles sailing through that soft, smooshy yarn.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to college and parents who would support me in just about any major I wanted to try. I settled on business with an emphasis on marketing before long. Even though I didn’t know for sure what I wanted to do, I knew I’d be able to apply it to anything. I could work in film in a multitude of roles, be a physical therapist running my own clinic, I could continue managing a retail store, or I could start my own business. It seemed the perfect major with the widest variety of potential career options. Even though I didn’t fit in well with the business students who were in short rather closed-minded and not so brilliant compared to the students over in the pre-med classes I also took! Thankfully my science and film classes kept me sane!

Anyhow, I’ve had an eye out for resources to send my student’s direction for that constant question, “How do I turn my hobby into a business?” Some want something part-time, some want to replace a full-time job, some just want an activity to fill their retirement, and a few just want to pay for more yarn and higher quality needles. Whatever your reason, it comes down to the same information you need to get started. Things like where to sell your knit and crochet items, how to get yarn wholesale to increase your profit margin, how to stand out from the competition, and the most frequently asked question, “How do I price my items?”

I’ve found a great ebook offer right now that’ll answer these questions and more to help you go from a hobbyist to a business owner. And for a mere $37 to get all that information, 3 months of email coaching and support, a pricing calculator, a business plan, a color selector to avoid those dreaded multicolored horrors every craft show seems to have, and a great big pile of business building freebies from patterns you can use to all you need to know to set up your website, blog and storefront!

If you’re ready to jump in with both feet, check out this ebook and resources here. At this price you’ll only be giving up buying yourself one or two balls of high end sock yarn. And just think how many more balls of luxurious yarny heaven you’ll be able to buy after you’ve got our knitting business started!

Not quite sure if you’re really ready for the whole deal? Is that $37 too steep for you right now? No worries. I’ve totally got you covered with a free newsletter to help you get started too. The ebook is more complete, but hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere and this might be better for you. Everyone’s got to chose their own path!

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10
Jan

The Knitting Survey – Jan. 2014

Posted under Knitting, Life, Techniques No Comments

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Between a project for Nerd Wars during the last tournament and putting together a list of knitting techniques I’m comfortable teaching at work, I started wondering, “What haven’t I done?” I’m always inthralled by new techniques, yarns, fibers, and colors.  To make sure I wasn’t leaving anything horribly obvious out, I checked around the net for a knitting survey. You’re supposed to bold the things you’ve done, use italics for the things you want to do someday, and leave the rest in normal text. Here’s my list as of today. Keep in mind I also crochet, spin, weave, and felt (wet and dry) with my fiber too! This survey is just for knitting.

Afghan
I-cord
Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Shawl
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down

Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Hat
Knitting with silk

Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Sweater
Drop stitch patterns

Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting aka Twined Knitting from Scandinavia
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn

Cardigan
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with double pointed needles
Baby items

Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn
Slippers
Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)

Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Participate in an exchange
Scarf
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money- wouldn’t that be nice!
Buttonholes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Mosaic Knitting

Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn
Holiday related knitting
Knitting from a recipe type pattern
Knitting from a chart
Teaching a male how to knit (done both adults and kids)

Bobbles
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Steeks
Duplicate stitching

Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting two socks on one circular simultaneously
Fulling/felting

Knitting with wool
Knitting with novelty yarn
Knitting with ruffle/mesh type yarn
Textured knitting
Kitchener stitch

Knitted flowers
Yoke type sweater

Purses/bags
Knitting with beads – both prestrung and added as you go with a crochet hook
Swatching
Long Tail CO

Entrelac
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Picked up a dropped stitch

Knitting with cashmere
Darning
Used a lifeline

Jewelry
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Gloves
Intarsia
Knitting with linen
Tinked back

Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Picot CO
Picot BO
Judy’s Magic CO
Jeny’s Stretchy Bind Off
Brioche Knitting

Free-form knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers
Pillows
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine
Rug – alas, I’ve only crocheted and Tunisian crocheted rugs before. I have yarn on hand to start a knitted one though!
Earning the TKGA Knitting Masters (3 levels)- someday I’ll be able to afford the classes!

Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Shrug/bolero/poncho
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Entering your knitting in a fair/contest
Winning a blue ribbon for your knitting

Hair accessories
Knitting in miniature (smaller than size 3/0 needles)

Knitting in public

I actually ended up adding TWENTY more items to the list because, well, frankly the list was lacking. There’s not much left on it that’s not bold, but I will be knocking out rug very soon with a series of rug patterns I’ll be publishing! I made my stepdad a rug for Christmas in Tunisian and have another Tunisian rug on the hook as we speak which will be a part of a 3 piece pattern set. I’ve got some more yarn too as I’m going to release the Tunisian 3 piece mystery set in a knitted version as well so I’ll need to whip up a knitted sample for photographs!

I may also try moebius knitting soon as well. I know how to do it, I’ve just never done it! My Grandma B is due for a fantastic scarf for her generous donation to the house fundraiser. She sent along some beautiful mohair she’d bought to try to make an infinity scarf that wasn’t turning out quite like she wanted. My task is to whip it up into a perfect, light, airy scarf, and ideally an infinity scarf. It seems like it might end up being the perfect chance to try out a moebius cast on with a really long circular needle!

So, what else should be on the list? What would you add?

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10
Jan

Spinning Study Group

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On the second Thursday of each month, I’m lucky enough to get to join a spinning study group at Table Rock Llamas. The ladies in the group are wonderful and I’ve learned so much just being around them. Almost every month, we have a dedicated thing to work on learning. Two months ago, we had a workshop taught by a study group member on how to spin coil or beehive yarn. Here’s my beehive yarn from November being modeled by my older dog, Sketcher.

In December we just goofed off and held a gift exchange. I ended up with something I had no idea I needed so badly, a yarn bowl! I’ve been using it non-stop since I got it and I’m considering getting one made from the same local artisan for holding two separate balls so I can use it for fair isle work, particularly as I’m planning at least two stranded projects for my county and state fair entries this year. If you haven’t tried a yarn bowl, you need to!

As for this month? We did a study of Blue Faced Leicester wool. Blue Faced Leicester is pronounced “blue faced lester,” and commonly referred to as just BFL. BFL is a fantastic fleece for the handspinner. It’s got a magnificent crimp and shines almost as though it contains silk. BFL is known for it’s luster. BFL is considered a longwool and the narrow locks range from 3-6 inches on average. The wool I’m spinning today has some variance but lends itself toward the long end of the spectrum. While the wool is rather soft and could be worn against the skin, I’ve gotten a bit spoiled with affordable Merino wool top and if I’m going to really splurge like I had to on the BFL, I’d rather just save a bit longer and snap up a bag of cashmere or higher micron count Merino than I usually buy.

The shop owner where we hold our meetings bought two BFL sheep fleeces for us and washed them. Here’s the view into my sack of BFL after today’s spinning. I’ve got a ton left to card and spin. Just look at that shine though! Wow!

Washed BFL

Members of the study group could buy as much as they wanted for $4 an ounce. That’s a lot more than I usually pay for sheep’s wool, but it was a matter of wanting to spin with the rest of the group.  I’ve spun BFL before, so it wasn’t a huge deal, but I’m very, very glad I splurged on some of this local wool from a sheep named Poppy! (my donkey’s name is also Poppy) BFL is fairly uncommon in our area so fleeces command a higher price. I ended up buying 4oz. That’s about as little as I ever buy of any spinning fiber because 4oz provides plenty of freedom to decide how to spin the yarn and a multitude of possible projects. I could make a lace shawl, a pair of fingering weight socks, or a worsted hat. The only time I buy less than 4oz is when I buy little bitty 1/3oz bumps of fiber for spinning hexipuffing yarn, but that’s for another post.

Given the high crimp of the BFL in our study group fleece and the burning desire I’ve had to try out the Majacraft lace kit my brother D got me for Christmas this year, I opted to spin my BFL into a lace weight yarn which will then most likely end up knit into a shawl of some sort depending on the finished yardage. Due to the quantity of vegetable matter in the wool even after washing, spinning is a bit slow. I’m carding my wool into woolen rolags and picking as much VM from the wool as I can both while carding and while spinning. With the high crimp and the wool’s luster it is working up to be a fantastic fine thread of a single even if it is slow going due to the relatively dirty wool.

IMG_4333

I will later ply this, likely a chained 3 ply, to make a finished lace yarn. I will probably also dye this fiber as I’d like to see first hand how the BFL takes up dye. I’ve heard good things about BFL’s receptivity toward acid dyes and that the wool’s natural luster makes the colors shine from within.

 

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09
Jan

My Bitty Hat and a Surprise Mini Knit!

Posted under Holidays and Celebrations, Knitting, Life, Miniatures No Comments

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I’ve always loved miniatures since I was a little girl. I had the most incredible dollhouse, and though it was never finished I didn’t care. I spent hours upon hours making little clay food, weaving bitty rugs, and of course making up fantastic stories about the lives of the bear, bunny, and kitty dolls that lived in my dollhouse and the various other character dolls who lived in unseen homes on the horizon of Dollhouse World. Here’s me with that glorious house just after I got it for Christmas in 1989.

Xmas1989

Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated and a little obsessed with all things miniature, particularly 1:12 scale.

Since I learned to knit and crochet, I knew I wanted to make miniatures. Of course minis are significantly harder and I failed over and over as a beginner to make successful minis. I’ve finally gotten down to the scale I want though and have even dared to dream smaller now! Check out this hat I made last summer:

I made this hat from a Buttercup Miniatures pattern. I did modify the stranded section of the hat to make it look more like my childhood winter cap. I worked on 6/0 (.75mm) knitting needles and used a single strand of 6 strand DMC embroidery floss as my yarn. DMC floss makes great miniature knitting yarn and the color selection is nearly unlimited and highly affordable! Someday, I’d love to order some of Buttercup Miniatures super fine knitting needles. My smallest are only 6/0 needles (.75mm). I’d love to try out their .38mm, .55mm, and.60mm size double-pointed knitting needles and fine ‘yarns’ just to see how much smaller I can really go.

My big goal for 2014 is to publish one new pay-per-download pattern per month so I’ll have income to pay for things like utilities once my home is built and I have a place to live and work again! For January’s new pattern, think small! I’m working on something which would be right at home in a little girl’s dollhouse, tucked into bed with her barbie, or snuck into the corner of a whatnot shelf for us adult collectors. Of course  I know most of you don’t want to work quite as small as I enjoy working, so this pattern is being designed with fingering weight yarn in mind. Of course your finished project would still be flat out adorable in a DK or worsted weight yarn. Made in a thicker yarn, this knit would still be a great accessory item for a 18″ American Girl doll. Keep an eye out! This upcoming pattern is only the first in a series of at least four new miniature knit patterns! Additionally, this pattern will be published in two versions, one worked in the round, and one worked flat!

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27
Jun

Paper Class Trash To Treasure Fair Project

Posted under Miniatures, Paper Crafting No Comments

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My local county fair has all kinds of fun classes for creative competition each year. Last year I only entered knit and crochet pieces. This year I’m trying to branch out. One of the areas I figured I could excel in is the “trash to treasure” department. There are classes based on materials, plastic, wood, paper, fabric, metal, and combination. I’m working on a fancy metal piece, but it’s not ready to photograph yet. Hint: It is something fantastic for the 1:24 scale castle dollhouse I’m working on with friends who also each have a castle kit. I need to figure out one more piece first. Thank goodness for E600 glue though!

My paper class item is coming along faster. I started with cereal boxes. I used most of a cheerios box and a few snippets of oatmeal box to make my treasure.

breakfast cereal boxes and crunched paper from a printer jam

I used the pattern from here and made a few modifications to substitute in Cheerios box for mat board…which I shockingly enough don’t seem to have in my crafting lair. So far I’m quite pleased with the result.

progress

I just couldn’t resist getting a shot of my table with a little mug rug my mom has upstairs either! This table is going to be so darn cute. I hope to use it in the 1:12 scale yarn shop that I’ll get around to building someday after I’m done with building my life size house.

Table on rug

Time to decide on a faux finish of some sort and get this table finished. I’m thinking I’ll coat it in gesso tonight, sand it tomorrow, and then figure out paint. Surely something in my acrylic paints stash will take this table from looking a little too ‘green’ living recycled everything and make it a bit more shabby chic yarn shop sit and knit corner like! The most surprising thing about the little table is actually how much it feels like it is made of real wood. The glue soaked into the paperboard cheerios box layers incredibly well and made essentially a dollhouse sized plywood. I used plain old Elmer’s Glue-All, but that hardens up so nicely that it really does feel like I made a wooden table! All-in-all, I’m so pleased with it that I plan on designing miniature versions of several of my actual furniture pieces to make in miniature out of Cheerios boxes. I think I’m going to start with the coffee table my grandmother passed down to me. I love that table and my dollhouse just isn’t ever going to be complete without one. 

 

 

 

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07
Jan

Hexipiuffs 2013 Week 1

Posted under Hexipuffs, Knitting No Comments

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I’d like to make more progress on my hexipuff quilt this year, so I’m trying to make at least one hexipuff per day. I doubt I’ll hold that rate all year, but I did manage 8 hexipuffs for this first week of 2013! That’s a great start, and even if I can’t keep it up all year, I’ll still have more hexipuffs than I started out with. Here’s this week’s hexipuffs:

puffs 2013week1

 

This puts my hexipuff total at 248 puffs. However, I’ve got a small problem I wasn’t expecting. I’m a better knitter than I was last year–significantly so. It’s an exciting revelation, but I’m not sure what it means for my hexipuff quilt. Is it going to be okay to mix the horrible old ‘new knitter’ puffs with my nicer, new, experienced-knitter puffs? The look terrible side-by-side. Not good at all. Here I’ve pieced old puffs around the new puffs from this week. They don’t even fit together. Look at those gaps!

compare 010713

 

Most of my old puffs just can’t play nice with the new ones. Up close, the differences between old and new puffs is even more apparent. The older puffs are on the left and the new ones on the right.

differences2

 

The puffs are the same weight yarn with the same number of stitches. The old larger ones on the left even have visible stuffing, which I hate. I really prefer the new, slightly smaller and tighter hexipuffs. I just can’t decide what I should do with the old ones. Some of them have rather special yarn. I dyed the purple and pink one in the photo above and the large green one is yarn my mom and step-dad gave me. I want those puffs in my quilt, I just don’t want them to look horrible! I guess on the bright side, I need over a thousand hexipuffs and including my new ones, I’ve only got 248 puffs. If I keep making nice new puffs, the old ones will be over run and hopefully hidden due to their sparse numbers in the finished quilt!

It’s frustrating to have so much work done on such a wonderful project and realize just how poor quality my knitting was only a year ago, but at the same time, I feel quite privileged to be able to see such a difference in my work. I’ve come so far! Who knows where my knitting will go next!

 

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