Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ice Cream Cozies

For the ladies at work, I wanted to knit them all an ice cream cozy.  I had previously knitted one and gave to my friend and she loved it!  Here is that post:
I have 6 ladies at work and I assume they all love ice cream.  Perfect!  I started out by buying a bunch a different, vibrant colors of yarn at Joann's:

I chose Deborah Norville's Everyday Soft Worsted (100% Acrylic).  The colors I went with were, clock-wise from top:
  • Electric Green
  • Aubergine (Purple)
  • Baby Yellow
  • Wild Blue
  • Neon Pink
  • Snow White
Here are the finished cozies:

Once I was done knitting those, I decided to make 2 more, one each for Vince's daughters:
When I gave my work friends their cozy, I also had a cooler full of pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  They each got to pick out their flavor.  I will do the same for Vince's daughters.
I do still owe the friend I originally knitted one up for at least one more.  She has two daughters, so, I will probably knit up two more.  These make the best gifts!
What is your favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream??  Share your thoughts in the comments!
Mine is Chunky Monkey (Phish Food is a close second) :-)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Braided Towel Rug

Merry Christmas!
For Christmas this year, I wanted to make my sister something.  I had an idea for last year, bought the items to make it and then ran out of time.  This year, I uncovered the items I bought and convinced myself that I had enough time to make it and just do it, no more excuses.

I got this idea from a blog called Sisters of the Wild West, with a project called Braided Towel RugPretty much the project is a braided rug made with towels.  So, I bought 3 different colored towels, a green, a beige and a yellow towel.  I washed them and then cut them into strips.


This sounds easier than it was.  This made a complete mess.  I will soon show you...

Cutting the towels require you to trim off the seamed edges.  Then cut the towel into about 1.5" strips.  Well, let's just say that this project is very forgiving and you can be 1/2" to 1.5" and still be okay with it.

Cut into strips, each towel.  Depending on how big you want this rug, depends on how many strips you will use. 

Each towel yielded about 19 strips.  Because the towels are terry cloth, the loops in the towel get trimmed and make a complete mess.  Utterly miserable!!

This was generated by a shake down of each strip to separate the cutting colors after cutting into strips.   My cutting mat was not too pleased with the after-results either:

I did use a rotary-cutter.  The rotary cutter left behind all of this in the cutting mat.  I had to take my fingernail and scrape the mat.  Not too much fun, but it was a quick task.

First, you take one strip of each color and sew them together.  Next, start braiding the three strands.

When you come to the end of the strands, you then sew the next strand onto the end of the braided respective color.  You do this for several strips until you have an extremely long braid.  You then start your rug forming.  To form the rug you take the initial sewed strips (the beginning) and start forming a circle in itself:

In order for you to keep everything together, you will need a needle and button thread.  Button thread is thicker and will hold-up to tough wear-and-tear.  So, sew the inner braid to the outer braid of the inner circle. 

I made a long braid and then started the rug.  When I got to the end of the braid, I then sewed on more strips and braided.  Continue in this fashion until your rug is the diameter you would like it.

I wanted to make a bath mat sized rug.  I only used about a quarter of the rug strips.  It took me about 2 hours to wash and cut the towel strips.  Then another 4 hours to braid and sew the rug in a circle.  No joke, it took awhile.  Plan for this to be a half day to full day project.

I was pleased with the bath mat size, no too shabby!

I almost used a full spool of button thread on just this bath mat.  Buy a few spools, just to be on the safe side. 

Here it is complete.  I like it!!

The cats liked it too.  I left the rug unattended for a few minutes and I come back to them snuggling on it!  I should not be surprised by this. 

Ahhh, the rug feels nice under my bare feet.  I hope that my sister enjoys it too.
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

New England Patriot's Beanie

A friend asked me to make a few hats for her son.  I had made her daughters a few hats in the past years, so they must have gone over well, because she is asking me to make more.  I love knitting for someone who will use it! 
Her family is a real sports-loving family, Patriot's, Bruins, Red Sox...all of those and probably more, I just don't know.  I decided to knit her son a New England Patriot's inspired beanie hat.  I looked online and this is one that I found:

I got this!  I went to Joann's and bought 3 skeins of yarn:

A navy blue, gray and dark red.  All of these are Lion Brand Vanna's Choice (100% Acrylic).  Perfect yarn for washing a ton of times and still holding up.
I adopted a pattern from one of my magazines for basic beanies and figured out when I would need to change colors.

I started with a k2, p2 ribbing for the brim.  Then just straight stockinette st, then started the decrease for the crown right after the last red stripe.
I then topped it off with a navy blue pom-pom.

It's finished!

It practically fits my head, so I hope that I did not make it too big!  I will be visiting Mass the weekend that this is posted, so I will be giving it to her then.
Stay tuned for more Christmas knitting!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

WIPs (Work In Progress)

I track my knitting and crochet projects in Ravelry (an online knitting and crochet community).  I have six (6) WIP's: including one (1) that I bought yarn for and have not even casted on for yet and one sewing project that is incomplete.

I figured I would showcase theses projects as to remind myself and my faithful readers what are still outstanding.  Yes, I am calling myself out!

I am going to list them from oldest to we go (I'm going to be hiding under a blanket as to no show my face while you read this)...embarrassing!

Dec 2009, Celtic Knot Sweater:

This is supposed to be a Celtic Knot Sweater from Interweave Knits Winter 2007.  Yeah...I was so psyched to buy this, only to never even knit up a gauge swatch.  This is what the project should look like when complete...

I love it even today...someday I will start this project.  Next:

March 2013, Scrappy Quilt:

My Scrappy Quilt!  Each weekend I think that I will work on it, but I don't.  I have to sew on my borders, sew the backing and then pin the three layers with the batting in the middle and quilt the top.  I have a friend that has a quilting machine that I will arrange a visit when I am at that stage.  Ugh...the winter would be a great time to finish this quilt.

March 2013, Cabled Cardi KAL:

I am still deciding whether to unravel or keep knitting.  This was not knitted according to the pattern, where I knitted a cable at each interval, but there should be a patch of knitting between each cable.  My sister thinks it will be fine if I continue as I have been knitting.  I suppose so...I am going to visit in Dec, but I doubt I will be done with this by then.  But on the other hand, visiting Mass will be the only occasion in which I will wear it.  Whatever...
June 2013, Indecision City (aks Plum Lovin')
This is supposed to be a shawl.  I have not even blogged much about it.  I'm not in love with it, so I may rip it out at some point and choose another project for this yarn.
This yarn is my alpaca and silk blend.  I want a worthy pattern for this yarn.  I think I have convinced myself that I will rip it out and start a different pattern with it.  Alas...
July 2013, Palm Scrap Afghan
This is supposed to be a WIP, but I have gone past these 4 motifs.  I need worsted weight yarn for this and ideally machine washable.  I have some wool, but I cannot wash it, and other weights of yarn.  I could still use them, I just have not gotten there yet. 
August 2013, Romance Shell
I have paused on this project because the yarn is not nice to work with.  But I should work on this at the beginning of the year, to ensure it will be wearable by spring.  This will be perfect for spring.
I am still doing some Christmas knitting, where those projects will not be revealed until after Christmas, as to not spoil it for anyone, so those are not counted here.
I write this over Thanksgiving weekend and cannot resist the urge to go to Brandon Yarn Boutique and buy yarn for my next project.  Buying yarn really is a habit and it is hard not to do it.  I clearly do not need any more yarn or projects, clearly....but I love new projects and new yarn and using my ball winder and cataloging the yarn in Ravelry.  I need to knock off my Vampire Knits patterns...I think my purchase will include yarn for the Lore Hoodie! 
Ooh I can't wait!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turkey Trot 5k

Happy Thanksgiving!
This year Vince and I signed up to do the local FishHawk 5k Turkey Trot.  I had a personal best time I wanted to beat: 27:55.

They gave everyone a sweat-wicking athletic shirt with the above logo in the above color.  I love it!
I had been ramping up my jogging over the last month and even committed to running right after work, around work.  I was feeling good!  My heart rate monitor finally died (the watch part must have gotten damp and the digital display was fading) and so I had to improvise by using the stopwatch feature on my phone and wrap my phone with paper towels and tuck into my compression short's waistband.  Those shorts are so tight, the phone did not even move while in there!  While all this jogging was going on, I could not beat my personal best pace, so I really had no clue how I was going to do at the race.
In Florida, Thanksgiving morning was the coldest day we've had since February!  It was 37 degrees when we woke up at 6am.  Figures, and we are going to be running and NOT staying home under the covers or on the couch with a hot cup of tea. 
I know, I know, the rest of the country was probably experiencing colder weather, but this is my blog and I will complain if I want to!

We warmed up by jogging around the parking area and doing some crossfit exercises such as high knees, walking lunges and jumping jacks.  We each brought a long-sleeved shirt to wear until we started.  I brought my 5k Shrug, remember that one??  Basically it was a long-sleeved t-shirt that I cut into a shrug-like garment to wear to keep arms warm but can easily be taken off and tied around the waist.  Vince brought a long-sleeved t-shirt, one that we got at last year's Turkey Trot in Mass, when we visited my sis. 
Vince was not going to wear it (the cold does not bother him much), and my ears were already freezing and I knew from past experience, my ears would be hurting with wind burn later if I ran with them unprotected (the cold took us by surprise and we did not properly prepare ourselves).  So I rolled up Vince's t-shirt and kept the arms out and used it as an ear warmer, tied behind my neck.  Hey, it worked!  I ran 1/3 of the race that way.  Then it warmed up a bit and was not so bad.

Speaking of being cold, my sister did her annual turkey trot in Mass, the 5 miler, and it was in the 20's!  She was better prepared for it, for sure.  Here is her and her dog Gonzo, warming up before the race in the car:

Gonzo does not seemed impressed.  He does not like his picture taken!
Vince and I had our best times at our race.  It was a chipped-timed race, meaning that they can electronically take your personal start and finish times when you run over a mat that has receivers in it.  Our chip was on our bib (the paper that has your race number), which was something I has not seen before.  They do this because it could take you 30sec + to actually cross over the start line due to the large number of runners participating. 
I felt good during the race, but the last mile or so, I started getting a side stitch.  I imagine it was from breathing the cold air, not breathing properly or whatever.  I was running with people who were pretty much going at my pace and I could not really pass them.  I was having a hard time with the drive to pass, because my toes were cold and legs did not want to move any faster. 
I usually pick one person to follow and keep pace with throughout the race (keeps you occupied) and I chose this one gal who reminded me of my sister: shorter, short hair, wide strong shoulders and was running with a mission.  Yeah, at the half-way point where we would turn to come back, she took off like a dart!  I lost her.  Damn it!  Oh well, I was on my own after that.
I got to the final turn and then it was the homestretch.  I always get a burst of energy and sprint the last little bit.  I started to increase my pace and I saw the clock: 27:10...I was like, "Holy [crap] I could do this!" and I sprinted like no other.  I made it at 27:20!! Whoo-hoo!
Vince then looked at the standings on the Friday after and saw our chip-times: 27:05.  OMG, I don't know how I pulled that off!  That is seriously cutting over 30 secs/mile off my time.
Here are some of the race stats:
  • Chip Time: 27:05
  • Overall Time: 27:20
  • Came in runner 399 out of over 1700 participants
  • In age group, 35-39, I was 15 out of 121
  • In age group, the winner was 38 years old and her time was 22:31
Yea, so I won't be taking home any trophy's or medals, but I am still proud of myself!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Vivien's Layette

I had scheduled a few vacation days mid November to chill and get a jump start on my Christmas shopping/knitted gift knit time.  Since I was going to be off from work, I wanted to pay my friend a visit who had a preemie baby in September.  You know what that means??  I needed a homemade gift, pronto!
I had crocheted a few baby blankets:
But did not have the time to crochet up a baby blanket so I chose a baby layette.  The pattern was a free pattern I found on Ravelry by Linda and here is her blog:  Very crafty gal!
I chose Cherub DK Multi by Cascade Yarns in Rainbow Sherbert (55% Nylon/45% Acrylic).  This yarn to so soft and was a pleasure to work with.  One skein worked up this newborn baby layette.  I used a size 4 circular needle.
This yarn is so sweet!
I followed the pattern to the T.  I could have made it a bit longer, but it all worked out in the end.
This sweater had raglan sleeves (sleeves that are worked with no seams) and I am in love with raglan sleeves!  You leave the stitches live at a certain point you simply place them back on the needle and knit in the round to complete them.  So simple!!
The sweater design had eyelets as the pattern.  Nice and simple = fast knit.  No time for fancy-smancy lace design right now!
Stitches are live, so I placed them back on the same 40" long circ needle  and I finished the sleeves using the Magic Loop technique.
The hat was way too small.  I will make another hat for her at a later date.  The sweater did fit:
So cute and little!
I posted this pic of me holding Vivien on Facebook and everyone thought that I was a natural and/or thought that this was my baby or I should be having one!  Ha!  I like other people's baby's...I'm good!
After I fed her a bottle, she fell right to sleep in this position.  No boppy needed after the feeding.  I'm glad that Vivien is healthy and doing well and (on the side, am happy that the sweater fit).
Until next time, Baby Vivien!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

More Coffee Cup Cozies

I have knitted a total of 7 coffee cup cozies for the Relay for Life Charity I spoke about in an earlier post:
Here are some of the other finished ones:

I thought this one was going to look a bit dated, 1980's or something, but I really like it.  I has a nice stretch to it.  I held two different strands together.

I tried doing a horizontal cable and the cable pattern was too elongated for my liking.  Eh, not so much on this one.  I can definitely can improve this design.

This is my second attempt at cables and I really like it!  This is actually a cable made without a cable needle.  Very clever, I will not reveal the secret stitch just yet.  This is one of my favorites.  Since it is cabled, I can charge a little more for it.

I have made a few of this style already.  This one is cotton self-striping yarn that I had in my stash.  Each one will stripe a bit different.  It has an ombre look to it.  Very chic.

I had a yard sale a few weeks ago and here is me modeling my coffee cup cozie:

I was totally working it!
I bought one ball of yarn to knit more with (I will use the rest of the yarn from my stash).  It was Bernat Mosaic in Psychadelic (100% acrylic):
How cool is that?!  I think they were emulating Noro yarns, which have extremely vivid, saturated colors.  I made one with this and each one will end up looking completely different due so the vast color differences in the skein.
I made two cozies from the rainbow yarn and here is the other one:

So, they will have completely different colors.  Neat-o!

A fellow Relay for Life crafter let be use some of her Red Heart Super Saver to knit some up.  At first I poo-pooed the Red Heart, but they came out really neat.

This one is also Red Heart.  Excellent elastic memory, I do have to admit.  How fun!:

The last one I have made, then I will see how they sell, is a another cabled one:

I'm taking orders!  Let me know what idea you have for my next Relay for Life craft project!