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Various and sundry Sunday things. February 10, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh-to-be, Etsy, kidlet, knitting, Ravelry, sewing.
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The lovely, wonderful folks of the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group Group on ravelry threw me a virtual baby shower a week ago. They actually orchestrated sending gifts to Sarah, a local raveler who I’ve met to knit with at lunch a number of times, and she brought everything to my house! Unfortunately I was asleep when she arrived as I had had a rough day. Just like me to miss my own durned party. Anyway, after I woke up I had Michael take many pictures of me opening gifts in my pajamas. It was really super sweet of them. The pinnacle of the gifts was a lovely baby afghan containing squares made by group members and joined together. I was so touched!

Here are a few photos from that night, the rest can be found in the CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower! set.

First, they got presents for my kid, which always endears people to me for thinking of him:

CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower!

CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower!

CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower!

Here’s the final swag tally – lots and lots of handmade goodies and of course a Hello Kitty waffle iron.

CPaAGG Virtual Baby Shower!

Last night I was feeling strangely motivated. I’d like to tell myself it was nesting but I think in reality it was the Diet Coke I found leftover from the StupidBowl and had half a coffee mug full. I haven’t had caffeine in weeks and we don’t drink soda any more so it was a real novelty. It was 11:45pm and I said to Michael, “I realize it’s late but would you be willing to help me clean up my craft room?” He of course immediately said yes (as I’m sure he prays every day that I’ll do something in there) so we dug in. I told him some basic guidelines to what I wanted to save to reuse – packing material in one pile, tissue paper in another, envelopes and boxes in another, plastic bags, gift bags, ribbons, ephemera I would someday cut up, etc., etc.

I also got out a big cardboard box and started tossing yarn to destash into it. That was hard. I don’t like getting rid of yarn but there is a lot that I know I’ll never use and/or I bought back when I first started crocheting and knitting again that just isn’t my thing any more. Some things I had no problem with getting rid of but others gave me a little twinge. Still, better out than in. We hauled all the large bins out of the room so I could get to things that were hiding in random boxes and bags and piles all around them and find them a home. After putting the bins back there is a lot more room and while the shelves aren’t completely organized, it’s been started and I can clearly see how much can fit (and it’s a lot). It’s very exciting to me.

We also managed to clear off the 4′ folding table Michael got for me to use so now I can actually, you know, do things on it. It had been serving as a general junk catcher for the past couple of months. Things had been piling up in there and I would just work around them, but in recent weeks it finally got to the point that I couldn’t walk in and grab some roving or sew something because of the maze I had to navigate. Now I can at least get in there, find what I need, and do something if I so desire. It’s progress. I have one box left of “stuff I don’t want to get rid of but have no idea what to do with.” Those are the hardest. Considering the folding table consisted of pretty much all that kind of thing I’m relieved to have it condensed down to a single box. I’ll tackle that soon, just not today.

I don’t know what time it was when we finally went to bed as I didn’t check the clock (ignorance is bliss you know). After getting everything re-re-reorganized last night, today I wanted to take some photos of things I need to put into my Etsy shop (I’m nearly out of handspun yarn on there…I had only posted a few skeins, which is exciting but eep!) and some of my stash to post in ravelry but I didn’t clamp one of my lamps in a clampy enough manner and it fell, breaking the bulb. I’m not using standard bulbs, they’re 75w natural spectrum floodlamps so I can’t just get another from the bathroom cabinet. Damn. It. I asked Michael to pick up another one for me after the caucus so hopefully he has pity on me and brings one home today. Maybe he’ll bring a spare since I’m a clumsy bint.

But, seeing as I do have the table cleared off and I bought some rattail cord almost two weeks ago(!) I’ll get on making drawstring bags for all the beanbags I’ve had finished and sitting forever waiting for me to get on the ball. Oh, and I finished that Araucania sock that Michael said looked like a condom. Now that it’s a sock and not just a tube it looks much less condom-y. Thank you Joy for convincing me not to frog it. Again, photos when I have a bulb.

Rice and fabric and yarn. December 31, 2007

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh-to-be, Etsy, knitting, sewing.
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I didn’t get a whole lot of crafting done this weekend – pretty pathetic, really. I’ve been feeling more tired and run-down as I close in on The Ninth Month. It’s almost hard to believe that likely within the next three to seven weeks our daughter will be born! She had a big growth weekend so I’ve been feeling it, just tight and huge and ugh. I vaguely remember this feeling with kidlet so it’s not unfamiliar, just uncomfortable.

All I accomplished was making a teensy bit of progress on beanbags…my only plan at the moment for all this vintage-y fabric is to make as many sets as I can just to see if I can do it, then plunk them into my Etsy shop and see if they actually sell. I timed the different parts of the process (ironing, sewing, filling, and soon to be seaming) so I can come up with a formula for how much to charge. I also played around to decide how much rice filler to put in a beanbag around 4-1/2″ square so it would be fun and not dangerous.

So, not terribly exciting, but here’s one batch of 1930s reproduction fabric I got from eBay that I ironed one night, then stitched up and filled this afternoon. All that remains is seaming them and them using some fat quarters I got from the same seller to make bags.

Beanbag Project (by jeninmaine)

I also discovered that my shiny new iPod Shuffle is quite awesome. I filled it with music when I was at work last week and I’ve been using it while working at home as it cancels out the noise of people talking, the radio playing, kidlet running around, the dog snoring, etc. It also makes sewing a breeze as I can groove along to the music instead of listening to the drone of my sewing machine. So far a big, big thumbs up, and of course the best part is I didn’t have to pay for it. I’m going to see how I like it for knitting, woo!

Speaking of filler, the last time we were at the grocery I bought a 20# bag of rice as it was pretty much the cheapest bulk grain I could find that wouldn’t turn a beanbag into a rock, or a bag of rocks. I was tempted to save a few bucks and get the 50# bag, but realized I should see if this beanbag thing has momentum before committing myself to that much rice.

Mmm, rice. (by jeninmaine)

After I finished filling, I took some more fabric I had already cut from my stash and ironed it in preparation for sewing. I had all these coordinating fat quarters I collected before my son was born with these bright ideas of making blankets with them – I think this will be a much more fun incarnation for them.

Beanbag Project (by jeninmaine)

Just so you don’t think I’m not knitting any more, here’s another Warm Heart Woolies plain diaper wrap I started recentish-ly and have been carrying around in my bag for a while. I just haven’t been all that jazzed to work on it as it’s kind of a boring pattern. I’m also kind of eh about the Cascade 220 Quattro I chose for it – stranded it looks really cool, but actually knit up it’s not all that exciting. I’ll admit I was disappointed.

I guess the baby’s just going to be peeing on it so it doesn’t make that much difference, but still.

Warm Heart Woolies Diaper Wrap (by jeninmaine)

I mentioned starting that baby sweater, so here’s what I have done so far – the back and about a quarter of the left front. So far I’m enjoying knitting with Crystal Palace Bamboozle yarn though it takes a little getting used to – it’s all separate strands so it comes apart easily at the ends but the bamboo/cotton/elastic nylon blend makes a really nice-feeling, slightly sproingy fabric. This sweater will be perfect for the early Autumn.

Bamboozle Layette Sweater (by jeninmaine)

I was surfing around looking at yarn, eliciting some comments from Teh Husband about being addicted to “yarn pr0n” (intentionally misspelled so as not to attract any wayward Googlers donchaknow). What can I say, I drool over particularly lovely skeins of yarn and bundles of roving. It doesn’t matter how many 90-gallon bins of yarn and shelved totes of fiber I already own, I can’t help fantasy shopping and wishing I had more time/money.

Anyway, I really love sock yarn though I don’t really love knitting socks. I’ve tried a few pairs and have just sort of pooped out on them – sort of like the one pair of mittens I’ve knitted, which incidentally is made up of two different mittens as I finished the first and said, “meh.” I’m a very short-attention-span kind of girl.

However, I found this Very Rad Pattern for Jack Sparrow’s Favorite Socks by Pamela Northrup (she also has a rad blog) that I have absolutely fallen in love with and it has re-energized my resolve to make a pair of socks, dammit!

Photos absolutely used with permission by the creator:

PirateSocksModeled (by trillian42.rm)

Aren’t they the coolest?!

Yarr!

SkullClose (by trillian42.rm)

It’s funny that Black Pearl happens to be one of my favorite Lorna’s Laces colorways, and when I bought it I immediately thought of Pirates of the Caribbean (it was one of the draws to get it, in fact). Of course the cake I have here at home is worsted weight, so now I am on the prowl for two sock weight skeins. I think I’ve located some on Ravelry, but I shall keep you posted.

All right, it’s late, I should be in beddy-bye.

Show Off, Advice, Moon December 26, 2007

Posted by jeninmaine in Etsy, knitting, sewing.
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I have crafty stuff I want to show off, ask for input, and make grabby hands at, all in that order.

Show Off: I mentioned I made beanbags for Michael and baby Katy. I didn’t end up making a set for Kaitlynn as I ran out of time and the kid has a bazillion plastic toys anyway. These were my “proof of concept” beanbags from when I first came up with the idea to try them – I made two sets of six each at approximately 4.5″ x 4.5″ each, then put them in drawstring bags made from coordinating fabric.

I think the bags came out wicked cute:
Beanbags for the kids, Xmas 2007 (by jeninmaine)

And then the beanbags weren’t too shabby, either:
Beanbags for the kids, Xmas 2007 (by jeninmaine)

The beans I had on hand were kind of bulky and I was worried about someone getting beaned by them (ha ha) so I opted to use basmati rice instead. It smells great!

Both of the kids seem to love these things. Katy immediately started playing with hers and both she and the kidlet had a great time tossing them around. We’ve already made up a handful of games to play with them with the kidlet, they’re a super indoor toy for those days you can’t blow off steam outside and they no doubt help him practice hand-eye coordination. I had been waffling over whether or not to bother making any for my Etsy shop, but after seeing how such a simple toy can get kidlets psyched up I am definitely going to try and crank out a few sets.

Need Input: A month or so back I got these seven skeins of Bergen du Nord Charmant in color 2153 for a song from someone destashing on Ravelry.

Bergen du Nord Charmant, color 2153 (by jeninmaine)

It’s a lovely shimmery, soft 50% wool, 50% silk blend single-ply, 131 yards per skein, 5 sts = 1″ on US6 needles making it a DK to worsted weight. I absolutely adore this yarn and this colorway, but I have NO IDEA what to do with it! I need help!

Bergen du Nord Charmant, color 2153

Grabby Hands: WEBS is having a big yarn sale again. Which means I spend lots of time looking at yarn and sighing. With our no-spending-initiative in place I am extra super bummed, because I desperately want 8-10 skeins of the Classic Elite Skye Tweed in Marmalade. It is so gorgeous, and of course discontinued therefore once it’s gone, too bad, sucka. I keep refreshing to see the number of skeins remaining dwindle because I like to torture myself like that.

Here’s a lousy little color card from the WEBS site:

I figure if I can’t buy it I can at least moan and make moony-eyes over it.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print at the moment, I’m going to go chill out.

Random acts of knitting December 11, 2007

Posted by jeninmaine in Etsy, knitting, sewing, spinning.
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I was trying to think of other gifts I can give the kids that either don’t cost much or are something I can make, and I came up with beanbags. Beanbags are to me one of those staples of childhood and I think kidlet will have a lot of fun with them as will Baby Katy. I don’t know if Kaitlynn will like them (she already has a TON of toys, it’s ridiculous) but at the very least between those and the Tinkertoys I’ll really confuse the heck out of my brother and SIL. “What, no plastic?” No cartoon characters?

I thought about the whole beanbag concept and the more I thought about it the more I liked it so I decided to work up a proof of concept. I have a bunch of coordinated fat quarters prewashed and stashed away for a rainy day that I ironed, cut into 5″ squares, and made some beanbags. OMG they are so cute! I didn’t have small enough beans so these ones are filled with basmati rice, which makes them smell good. They were a bit of work getting them cut and all that but very satisfying. I think I might try to see how much scrap fabric I can use up and perhaps offer them in my Etsy shop, too, sets of four or six with a coordinating drawstring bag.

Then of course I discovered that there are things out there called quilting “charms”, basically coordinated sets of pre-cut squares for quilting. And they make them 5″ x 5″. Being able to avoid the ironing/cutting step would be awesome. I especially love anything in a repro 30s print. Hmmmmmm.

The only other exciting news is that I made a hat. Not the most inspired hat, but it’s exciting as I actually made it for myself (well, the bebeh-to-be) rather than for someone else! Imagine that! It worked up really quickly using some clearance Crystal Palace Bamboozle yarn (55% Bamboo, 24% Cotton, 21% Elastic Nylon) I found a month or so back at the LYS and a free pattern from their website. It’s very cute. Bebeh-to-be won’t be able to wear it until next Autumn as it’s 6-9 month sized, but it’s wicked cute and I love the resulting knitted fabric.

I think the color distribution came out pretty cute:
Bamboozle Baby Hat (by jeninmaine)

I didn’t like the double decreases at the top at first, but now that I can see the end result I like this construction a lot better:
Bamboozle Baby Hat (by jeninmaine)

I stuffed a skein of yarn into the hat to give it a little more definition:
Bamboozle Baby Hat (by jeninmaine)

The hat worked up very quick and I’ve already started on the back of the sweater. Here’s the set in the Circus colorway, which is also very cute:

Let’s see, what else. The dyed roving I got from handpaintedyarn.com is finally fluffy enough for me to attempt spinning…truth be told I hung it up and forgot about it for a long time, but considering it was literally compacted into a plastic bag and then wrapped in packing tape until it was a capsule the size of two of my fists it’s really come a long way. Thankfully the roving is very soft with a decent staple and the colors, while not exactly like the photos on the website, are very nice.

Roving from handpaintedyarn.com (by jeninmaine)

I finished the last of the Old Lady Hair the other night so maybe it’s time to crack into these.

Or I could knit.

Or I could sew.

Of I could keep picking away at my craft room.

Garrgh!