The last day of February is International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day. Whether you knit, crochet, color, sew, cross stitch, embroider, or enjoy other crafty pastimes like diamond painting or LEGO building, you’ve likely done repetitive motions while in pursuit of your hobbies. I reached out to Alyssa Cape from Alyssa Massage for tips, tricks and helpful hints on ways to keep our mobility and flexibility healthy so we can continue to craft for many years to come.
Me: Hi Alyssa! Crafters (like myself) have a tendency to sit for long periods of time. We can be hunched over our desks during activities like coloring, sewing or diamond painting, or spend many hours cross-legged on the couch while knitting, crocheting or doing embroidery. Do you have any posture tips for long crafting sessions?
Alyssa: I’d put a small step stool or shoe box under the feet so the knees are slightly higher than the hips. This helps the small curve in your back from pinching and then your neck automatically goes forward. This way when your feet are slightly elevated, the pelvis is tilted back a bit so you can rest your back on lumbar support or pillow and your muscles relax.
I wouldn’t suggest sitting cross legged, however if you do, switch positions often. Get up to drink some water and to walk around to give your body a break.
There are multiple videos showing how to be comfortable while doing crafts like knitting or crocheting, like this one:
Me: Crafters can be prone to sore wrists, hands and fingers. Sometimes this pain can shoot up into the arm. Should we be doing exercises to keep our hands, wrists or arms in shape?
Alyssa: Here are 2 links, one shows 3 stretches for carpal tunnel and the other is self hand massaging. I do these myself as well! They can also be used for computer/ desk work.
I would recommend not to over-stretch as you can pull on the nerves. Nerves are like dental floss, they pass through the joints. They don’t stretch like muscle, tendons and ligaments. So if you feel tingling or burning in your fingers, stop!
Me: How hard should we be stretching? How often should we do them?
Alyssa: Do the stretches gently so you feel a slight stretch/ resistance and then stop. You’ll see mobility, flexibility and strength will come! Seeing a physiotherapist is also a good idea as they can provide you with multiple exercises and stretches and suggest the frequency of both as it’s different for each person.
Me: What should we do when in pain? Is that the time to stretch?
Alyssa: I don’t recommend when in pain to stretch and self massage. Rest hands as much as possible. There are thumb/ wrist/ arm braces that can be worn while crafting and at night as well to help stabilize the wrist during sleep.
Me: Do you recommend ice or heat?
Alyssa: You can alternate heat and cold compresses 15 minutes each. Heat allows for more blood flow which speeds up healing and cold reduces blood flow for swelling and inflammation.
Me: Any other tips?
Alyssa: A warm bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts really helps de-stress the muscles and then you can apply cold on the specific location. Drinking lots of water also helps with muscle soreness and tension!
That said- always consult with your doctor before doing any stretches or exercises to make sure there isn’t an underlying issue!!
Alyssa has been a registered & certified Massotherapist for over 12 years. She is professional, dynamic and intuitive in her practices and completely dedicated to your overall wellness. You can enjoy the benefits of preventative and ongoing massage therapy for your health and well-being by visiting her here.
Disclaimer: I reached out to Alyssa on my own and asked for her professional advice to share here today. There was no compensation given on either part in exchange.
As last mentioned in my plastic canvas wall hangings update, back in 2019 I’d given myself a pretty ambitious resolution: a challenge to turn 19 “works in progress” into “finished objects”. The first project added to my “19 WIP-to-FO Challenge” was my wall of Project Memory Jars
I’ve had a longstanding tradition of keeping a little length of yarn from each knitted and crocheted project I’ve made (later adding plastic canvas projects as my fiber hobbies crew). It started as keeping a bit of yarn in case there was need for repairs, but other than mending some knitted socks, it didn’t really wind up being a useful hoard item. That said, I have a strong visual memory and it was lovely to look back at the various yarns and remember the projects I’d made. The small colorful scraps would often bring up vivid memories of the gift recipient or technique I’d struggled with or laughter with crafty buddies in a workshop.
Originally these remnants were rolled into a ball and tied on one after another. It made them easy to store but impossible to see all the yarns on the inner layers.
My first “solution” was to make them into something tangible. They’d still have the same memory placeholder and all would be visible. Back in 2012 I eagerly cast on for a crochet granny square and made a few large blocks, intending to one day sew them into a large scrappy blanket.
This worked…fine actually. It was a chaotic mess and I knew I’d love the resulting blanket. The problem was that it would never be finished. I’d be storing a bag of 12″ granny squares for decades because even though I work on 50-100 projects yearly, the amount of triple-crochet stitches I’d be able to get from a few yards of leftover yarn was minimal.
So I thought about it and came up with a different idea. A silly little memory wall that makes no sense to anyone but me, but makes me smile and remember all the projects I put my time, effort, energy and care into.
The shelves and brackets were extras from my previous job, so luckily I had those already on-hand.
Now that the wall was ready it was time to fill the jars. Which meant finally getting around to undoing the granny squares. Since it was the first item on my 19-for-19, it made sense to start with that one first.
1. FO Project Jars
What I said: I need to rip out all the individual lengths of yarn (1-10 yards long, each), match them up with what project they were from, and put the separated yarn into jars designated for each year.
What I did: basically exactly that. Only what took one sentence to type took hours to actually do. Frogging the granny squares was easy work, but before I could start I had to look at the center stitches of each block and figure out what project that was from, so I could put the blocks into a chronological order. (Luckily I take detailed project notes and my Ravelry page is mostly up to date!)
Once I’d figured out which blocks went where time-wise, I ripped them back and rolled them back into one big ball as I went, so the newest yarn was on the inside. Once everything was frogged I was able to start with the oldest scraps and begin to sort.
It was slow work but I moved through the yarn, cutting away the knots and putting a few inches of each yarn into the relevant year’s jar. Since the jars aren’t huge I only kept a bit of each and had a colorful pile of spaghetti left over at the end, which I later separated by length.
Anything that was a yard or more I rolled up and added to my mini ends bin, for use as waste yarn, stitch holders and row counters, or random craft projects.
I only undid knots for the cotton scraps because I had plans to re-use those. Every time I got to cotton yarn I added it to this growing ball, which I later turned into 2 scrappy dishcloths for my kitchen, using my own perfect, lay-flat, knitted diagonal garter dishcloth pattern.
I used about half of the scraps to make a smaller cloth with a hanging bit on the end, and then used up all the rest for the 2nd cloth. (The pattern is knit like a diamond so all you need to do to use up every bit of yarn is to find your center…work half the cloth until you hit the center point and then start the decreases to work the remaining half).
With all the jars filled and the extra bits used up, that officially marked the first of my 19 completed WIP-to-FO projects for my challenge, and now I have a silly bit of wall décor that confuses everyone who comes into my home office. I get to look at it and reminisce about all the people I’ve knit for and all the yarn-related creativity that moved between my fingers.
Here’s looking ahead to 2022 and all the projects it will bring.
Happy New Year!
This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.
Have you ever done any charity knitting or crochet? There are so many ways to give back to your local community or to help others around the world. I’ve done a lot in the past…through the Montreal Knitting Guild, my local hospital or volunteer Facebook groups, my friends and I have made everything from Teddies for Tragedies to chemo caps to birds’ nests for Australia. Most recently the Warm Hands Knitting club from my local Federation CJA spent last winter making hats, scarves, and slippers to keep our elderly community warm.
It feels great to give back and YarnCanada.ca is giving you the chance to get the yarn for your projects donated to you, free of charge.
Yes that’s right – they’re giving away yarn for FREE!
They’ve just started their 4th annual event of giving yarn to individuals and groups who knit or crochet for good causes!
In partnership with Bernat and Patons Yarn, they’re giving away $4000 (!!) worth of yarn to 12 different charitable individuals/groups. The hope is that the yarn goes to wherever it can do the most good.
And even better – this opportunity is open to both Canadians and Americans! Yes that’s right – they will ship the free yarn to the US!
To apply all you need to do is click the image above (or click here), fill in the form and tell them your story. Let them know what you will use the yarn for, what impact this or previous projects have had, or anything else important to your story. You can even attach photos to show them past charity projects you’ve done.
You have until January 13th 2022 to apply. Good luck!
It’s been almost 2 years since my Order of the Phoenix blanket was published in the Knitting Magic book.
There it is on the cover!
The Black family’s ancestral home played a huge role in the source book (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix) so in honor of today being Sirius Black’s birthday I’m going to answer the number one question I get asked about my pattern: how to enlarge the charts.
In case you missed my previous post about it, The Order of the Phoenix blanket is a circular throw that features motifs representing Harry’s scar as well as phoenix feathers and flames to represent the phoenix’ rebirth. A primary feature of the blanket is the text “The Order of the Phoenix” that goes around the center.
As the book is under copyright I’m not allowed to share a digital version of the charts when people request it, nor use that as my example here in this post. Instead I’m going to use my Lullaby baby blanket pattern for reference as they are both similar in having a charted band of words going around the center.
Lullaby was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of the now-defunct St-Denis magazine, that supported Veronik Avery’s yarn line of the same name. It has a deep border of garter feather-and-fan lace and features the words HUSH * BABY * SLEEP * BABY * around the center.
Using my hand for scale you can see that the charts are of relatively similar size between the two pattern books:
Obviously I had to blur out the charts themselves but you can still see the suggestion of where the words are and so the instructions I give for Lullaby will work just as well on Phoenix or any other chart by any designer.
There are a few different ways you can enlarge your patterns, depending on if you start with a physical or digital pattern, and on the result you want (physical or digital enlargement).
How to enlarge a PHYSICAL pattern (book, magazine or printout)
There are 2 options for enlarging a physical pattern.
Option 1: home scanner/copier/printer
Most home printers these days have a built-in copy/scan feature. If you scroll through the copy settings you can find an “enlarge” option that will allow you to increase the size of the chart in the printout.
You can also use the printer’s scan function to get a digital copy of your pattern that you can enlarge with any of the following digital methods.
Option 2: public photocopy center/machine
You can find both self-service and with-service public photocopiers at commercial copy centers like Staples. You can also often find public photocopiers at your local pharmacy or library.
This is a direct photocopy from my pattern. My hand is provided for scale.
This is an enlargement of the same page, made using the photocopier’s built-in enlargement option. Most photocopiers can handle legal and oversized papers. In this case, I used the 129% option to print on the largest size paper available (11″x17″).
You can see the difference between the two sizes.
The HUSH chart, for example, is 1.75″ high by 6″ wide in the original (and copy), and 2.25″ high by 8″ wide in the enlargement. These differences might make printing as-is enough of an enlargement for you, or you can take the enlargement and use it as your starting image to photocopy again even larger…repeating the process as-needed until the resulting chart is of a size for you to work with comfortably.
How to enlarge a DIGITAL pattern
There are many options for enlarging a physical pattern. I will be demoing these methods using my computer and/or an iPad. It is possible to do them all on a smart phone as well but since the point is to enlarge a chart to make it more convenient to work from, I’m going to assume you’re going to be working from your tablet or computer/laptop and not the smaller screen of a phone.
Option 1: from a physical file
Take a picture of your chart with a smart device and then email it to yourself so you have a digital file to work with.
Alternately you can upload it directly to an accessible storage media like Dropbox or Google Drive, or upload the image directly into a data-processing app like Microsoft Word, Excel or OneNote, Google Docs or Sheets, or your favorite annotation app/software. From there you can proceed to the enlargement instructions below.
Option 1b: from a digital file
You would use this option if you already have your pattern in a digital format. In this case I’ll be using the sale pattern version of Lullabye.
Use your favorite screenshot app to take a picture of the chart on your screen. I like Microsoft’s built-in “Snipping Tool” but you can use Snagit or any others including the “print screen” button yon your keyboard. As the “print screen” key method has a few extra steps, both ways are shown below. TIP: enlarge the chart on-screen before taking the screenshot so you are already starting with a larger version.
A) Using Snipping Tool (or other screen-grab software)
Open your pattern document (ie: Word doc, Excel file or PDF) on screen. Make sure the chart (or section of the chart you wish to capture) is in full view, then open your screen-grab software.
Click “new” to start a new screenshot. The software will freeze the entire screen as it currently looks.
As it says on the prompt – drag the cursor around the area you want to capture. Use your mouse to drag a square or rectangle from one corner to the opposite diagonal, making sure your desired image is fully inside your boundaries.
You can see the red boundaries on the image above. I started my capture at the upper left corner and dragged down to the lower right (where the cross is). Everything inside the red rectangle will be part of my screen-grab. I made sure to include my chart’s legend as well as the instructions on the bottom.
After you release the mouse after dragging, your cropped result will appear within the software’s window. If you don’t like the results, or are missing part of your chart, simply click “new” to start over and drag again.
Once you have the results you want, click “file” then “save as” and save the image to your computer. I keep a folder for every project I work on so I would save it in there for easy reference but you can save it to your downloads or anywhere that you would like.
B) Using your keyboard’s “print screen” key
Open your pattern document (ie: Word doc, Excel file or PDF) on screen. Make sure the chart (or section of the chart you wish to capture) is in full view, then tap the “print screen” button on your keyboard. This will take a screenshot of your full screen – everything showing on your monitor.
Open any software that will allow you to paste and then crop an image. I’ve used Word, Excel and Paint regularly with great results, and many other programs will work as well. My example is using Word.
Place your cursor anywhere on the page and use ctrl-v or click file→paste to paste your screenshot into the document.
You can see the image of my screen is now pasted into the Word document – background, taskbar, clock and all.
Click on the image within the document itself.
This will bring up a “Picture Format” tab at the top of your Word window. Click on it.
If you look over to the far right of the ribbon bar at the top, you will see a “crop” option. Click on it and you will see black crop bars appear on the border of your image. We will use those to remove all the excess parts of the image, leaving only the chart you want to work with.
Drag the dark black crop marks to surround only the part of the image that has your chart. As you drag you will see the edges of your image get shaded. Those are the parts that will be cropped out of the final image.
Keep moving the borders from the top, sides or corners until your chart is isolated. Then click anywhere outside of the image.
The shaded areas will disappear and you will be left with your desired chart.
Right-click anywhere within the image and choose “Save as Picture”. Now you can save your cropped chart image anywhere on your computer for use in the following enlargement step. In this example I kept all 3 words and the legend as one image, but if you want to enlarge each word even bigger you can repeat this process 3 times to crop out each individual word and save it as its own chart image.
Once you have your chart in digital format enlarging it is really easy!
Option 1: Paint, Befunky or other photo-editing software
Insert or open your saved chart image into your favorite photo editing software and resize it to enlarge. You can save the image in its larger size and print it at home or email it to your local copy center for printing. You might also find that having it large on-screen is enough for your purposes.
Option 2: Word, Excel, Docs or Sheets-type data processing software
Open your favorite processing software and use the “insert” feature to add your digital chart image. Once inserted you can drag on the corners to resize the chart. You can also right-click for more editing options. Once you have the image large enough for your purposes you can use it on-screen or print it for a large paper copy.
Option 3: PDF Annotation Software
There are a number of computer and iPad/Android programs that will allow you to annotate a PDF. To use your favorite one, insert your chart image into Word or Sheets as per Option 2 and then save your file as a PDF. Open the PDF in your annotation software and you can zoom in as well as make notes or highlight directly onto the chart.
My favorite annotation software is OneNote, and I use it daily for making notes, highlights and annotations on PDFs as well as images for all my crafting needs. It is free but since it might not be widely-used I’m putting it as a standalone option below:
Option 4: OneNote
I use OneNote extensively and find it an invaluable tool for any crafter/hobbyist. I love that I can import an image of a chart, blow it up as big as I’d like, and then in draw mode can use my Apple Pencil or finger and the highlight pen to highlight chart rows as I go just as I would on paper. The ability to undo mistakes is a big improvement over paper charts and I can also annotate as I go.
I like to insert my digital chart image into a new page created for my current project.
Tapping on the image will allow you to move it on the page as well as to drag the corners for an initial resize. You also have the option to rotate the image if desired, though as the chart in this case is rectangular I prefer to use the width of my iPad.
You can resize the image even larger if needed. Use two fingers to pinch and zoom out to enlarge the chart to its maximum size.
My favorite thing about OneNote is how I can work on my charts completely digitally. Here I’ve left part of the chart un-blurred so you can see how I use it. It’s possible to make notes about dropped sts, missing yarn-overs or any other reminders for yourself, as well as to switch to a highlighter pen in your favorite color and nib width and mark off your rows as you go. Better than on real paper- if you make a mistake you can easily erase the highlighting so you’ll always be able to keep track of exactly where you are.
I do use the Apple pencil as pictured above but you can do the same with your finger tip or a stylus, including change the pen nib size so everything is clear and legible.
I’ve used this method for everything from complicated cable knits to incredibly detailed 18ct cross stitch and it works perfectly every time. It also syncs to my OneNote account so I can access my chart on the computer or on my phone or even log in from any internet device so I can bring my work with me where ever I go.
I regret that I cannot share the charts for my Order of the Phoenix blanket pattern, but no matter what project you’re working on hopefully the above tips and techniques will help you enlarge your charts into something you can work with comfortably. If there are any other tips or techniques you’d like to learn about, feel free to message me or leave a comment below!
It seems like everywhere you look online these days, people are taking stock of 2018 and setting goals for moving forward. The first few days of the new year tend to be all about making resolutions, and to that end- here’s one of mine:
I resolve to turn the following 19 wips (works in progress) into FOs (finished objects) before the end of 2019.
I’ll write at length about each project when I finish (and post) about them, but for now here’s a short blurb for each:
1. FO Project Jars
I need to rip out all the individual lengths of yarn (1-10 yards long, each), match them up with what project they were from, and put the separated yarn into jars designated for each year.
2. Harvest Moon Pullover – crochet
I started this sweater on November 25 2016 as a way to use my adored Noro Silk Garden limited stash on something for myself. Limited yarn + crocheted pattern with big holes = a sweater that might fit… right?
3. Granny Rectangle Blanket – crochet
I started this blanket on August 9 2015 as a way to use up random sock yarns I figured I’d never get around to using for, y’know, socks. Figured out how to make granny squares as rectangles and then alternated with white for… some reason.
4. & 5. Ralph and Black Sheep’s Sweaters – sewing & cross stitch
I started these sweaters for the boys’ favorite stuffed animals a few nights before Christmas 2016. They were intended to be little surprises for them but instead they’ve sat in a bag ever since. Sadly Jakob is no longer as into iHasCupQuake as he used to be, so I’ll need to rip out the stitching on the front of Ralph’s sweater and hope it doesn’t leave gaping holes in the fleece. Then I’ll have to figure out new designs to personalize the fronts, find where I put the sleeve pieces, and sew the little sweaters together.
6. Drops V-Neck Pullover – knitting
I started this deep-v sweater somewhere in 2015 or 2016. It’s slouchy and soft and I want to wear it already.
7. Fluffy Shawl – knitting
I started this shawl on April 6 2015. It’s been sitting untouched in a bag since roughly that Fall. I love how the colors blend together (black Sandes Garn Sisu and purple/green Noro Kureyon Sock) and would like it to be done and hugging my shoulders.
8. Comfy Socks – knitting
According to myself, I started these socks 2 FULL YEARS AGO. They’re supposed to be my ‘take along’ knitting but because I haven’t finished designing the pattern, I never take them with me to work on. I need them done so I can reclaim the needles and portable hanging knitting bag and start being more productive again.
9. Fun Fur Vest – knitting
I started this Bergere de France vest in 2012(!!). My Ravelry projects page has it listed as completed on Feb 10 2015 but clearly it isn’t. No ends are woven in, it might need armhole cuffs, and I think I was debating overdying the entire thing black.
This page from Grimm’s Fairy Tales was a test to see if I could get good results using dollar store colored pencils. I’ve since moved the pencils somewhere else and want to finish the image so I don’t need to dig them out any more.
12. Grimm Fairy Tales Little Red Page – coloring
Those of you who follow me on Instagram would have seen this page from Grimm’s Fairy Tales back when I started it in June. I love how it’s turning out and want to see how well I can complete it.
13. Imagimorphia Eagle 2-Page – coloring
This double-page spread from Imagimorphia was started in the Fall of 2016. I loved coloring the tiny rainbows and then lost steam.
I honestly don’t remember when I started this page. Luckily I’d blogged about it!
15. The Time Garden Quilt Page – coloring
I don’t recall when I started working on this page in Daria Song’s The Time Garden either but judging from other posts about it I’d made in April 2016, I’m going to guess it was about that time. I have NO idea, however, why I stopped it so close to being done.
16. The Princess Bride Fred Savage 2-Page – coloring
This page was blogged when I first started it, way back in March 2017. I don’t want to move on to another page in the book until this one is done, though, so I need to make the time to finally get it finished up.
I’ve never shown these before, except for the odd glimpse in the background of Instagram pics. I started this trio of plastic canvas portraits when I moved in August 2017. While I love how they look in black and white (and blue), I designed them to be in full color and I’d love to see them complete.
Think I can do it? Want to play along? Use the tag #19WIPtoFO2019 so I can see how many you get through!
ps: As I’m about to post this I just realized that 19 projects means committing to completing more than one per month. Months that are already pretty busy with Becket, work, kids, commissions and all the new projects I want to work on and might come up over the year… Wish me luck- I’m gonna need it!!
This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.
One of Henri’s closest friends is a little boy named Matthew. They used to see each other at the bus stop every morning, and then during recess/lunch at school, but at the beginning of this school year Matthew had to switch to a different elementary which falls within the French school board. This means that the boys only get to see each other at playdates, which is sad for both of them.
Because of this, Henri’s been SUPER excited for Matthew’s birthday party, which was this afternoon. The two of them love playing Pokemon together and trading cards, so for Matthew’s gift I picked up a new set of cards. I showed it to Henri last night while he was coloring a card to go with it, and he said “too bad there’s no Eevee in the box. Matthew’s FAVORITE Pokemon is Eevee.”
I nodded noncommittaly and handed him the markers. Then he added, casually, “I sure wish you could have made him an Eevee for his party.”
Don’t get me wrong- I love making handmade gifts, and I’ve often added little handmade touches to store-bought presents. But… Matthew’s party was the next day. And Henri mentioned this at 8:29pm.
Well. I’m nothing if not optimistic! (And a night owl). I hopped into Ravelry, poked around at some options, and settled on this free pattern by Clare Heesh. I assembled my materials,
made a quick post to my Instagram story about how crazy I was… and then got started.
I worked the pattern as written, with the following changes:
used random worsted yarn from my stash and a 3.5mm hook (because I couldn’t find my 3mm)
crocheted inner ears instead of sewing on brown felt (because I didn’t have any handy)
fluffed up tail too
I was finished crocheting the body pieces by 12:43am:
Next was assembly!
First I stuffed the body, then sewed on the legs. After that I sewed on the tail, followed by the arms. The next step was supposed to be to sew the head onto the body, but I found the stuffing kept wanting to pop out of the body, so I basted over it quickly with the tail of the white yarn.
I inserted safety eyes then sewed the head down, whipstitching at a 1-to-1 ration between the head and body pieces. I stitched the ear centers down to the ears, then sewed those onto the head as well. Finally was the fun part: the fluff! I looped lengths of the white yarn around the neck then brushed it out with a cat brush until it was super soft and fluffy.
And here’s the finished Eevee! I didn’t trim the fluff, instead I sort of folded it into place and used the end of my crochet hook to stab it into the body, similar to how you’d do needle felting. The last thing I did was to use the cat brush and brush out the white end of the tail to give it a bit of fluff too.
I think she’s so adorable that I don’t mind that I only finished her at 2:15am LOL
UPDATE: I showed her to the boys this morning and they were beyond excited. Henri squealed, and Jakob was so happy with her that he jumped off his bed to come hug me and say “great job Mom!” which MADE my morning and is EXACTLY the reason why I stay up til crazy hours doing things like this.
Ugghhhhh. Is February really almost over? Is that a thing?
Sigh. When there’s nearly 4 weeks of everyone in your household getting back-to-back gastro, time can really get away from you, y’know?
I’m obviously behind on these little compilation posts of mine, so rather than upload a bunch of weeks’ worth of recaps in quick succession here’s an overview of the non-own-post-worthy stuff that happened during these last few weeks:
My travel knitting socks have become my sit-on-couch-watching-Supernatural socks because I’ve only been back to work part time as yet and there hasn’t been much need for a travel project. No pics, but the first one is about mid-foot.
V-neck sweater progress
The sweater was moving along at a great pace, as stockinette projects tend to do, until I was nearly finished the front. You split the front at the v-neck, working each side individually. I’d finished one half and held it up against me to see how it was gonna look…and noted that the v-neck began roughly in the middle of my rib cage. I’m not one to shy away from a low-cut top but that’s a bit much to wear without an under layer, even for me.
I calculated the height I wanted it to start at and ripped back, making notes so I could add that many rows before the split. I have ripped this yarn back so many times I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen apart by now!
Kitchen soap cozies
As part of my massive cleaning kick (see ‘other stuff’ below) I threw together these liquid soap bottle cozies for my kitchen.
The counter used to be a giant mess (pic censored to spare your eyes) and the cleaning supplies weren’t hideous but the kids (and I) had a hard time remembering which pump bottle I’d refilled with dish washing liquid and which one was hand soap. The ‘dish’ one used to say ‘DISH’ in scrawled black Sharpie but it kept wearing off the bottle.
I didn’t use a pattern. It took longer to keep casting on, starting then ripping to get the correct number of stitches than it did to actually work the two pieces. In the end they took 30 sts, and I worked 4 rows of single crochet for stability, followed by 3 of double crochet (so it wouldn’t take as long to make), then 3 more rows of sc to have a more closed-in area to embroider on, another 2 rows of dc and then finished with a row of sc to stabilize the top. I embroidered the words and then sewed the cozies together in place on the bottles. They do stretch enough to be removed and since they’re dishcloth cotton when they get dirty or covered in soap drips I can wring them out a few times and they’ll be good as new.
I’m not going to keep showing the coloring for each day… I tend to do them in batches as the images can start getting repetitive and I’m not always in the mood to work on them. I’ve got them mostly completed through til February 12th or so, but I haven’t taken pics of them all yet so here are the last few I did photograph:
This book is gorgeous. It’s the entire movie in coloring book format! No matter what your favorite scene from the movie might be, there’s a page ready for you to get to color it!
I always use the pages in the back of the book to swatch the supplies I plan to use. I knew the pages were thick enough to allow water applications for my Inktense, but the little swatch sample I keep with the pencils is on beige paper. I want to try to go for screen-accurate colors when possible, so I decided to swatch out ALL the Inktense colors.
I gridded it out with a ruler then scribbled a tiny bit of color on one side of each cell. Once it was dry I added the color numbers next to each but didn’t photograph that.
I’ve since begun working on some of the pages. I’m going in order and have 4 pages in various states of completion. It’s become my reward each night after I get the kids settled and tidy up and do laundry or whatever. Chores done = coloring time LOL
Oh. So. Much. Cleaning. (…she says, pretending it wasn’t her own craft supplies making the mess in the first place!) The house is long overdue for a big, thorough clean, and the first thing I’d tackled was the hutch in our dining room. As you can see in the ‘before’ pic below, it was a massive jumble of an ill-organized mess, so crammed full of unnecessary things that there was no room for the things we DID need to store there. During the brief lull between the kids’ gastro sessions I revamped the storage to better handle the things we needed. My cake decorating supplies are still there, with the closed containers now spanning the top sections, and the open boxes and packages hidden inside the center. Now the unit has become more of a central home art hub, with my drawing and coloring supplies on the left, and all of the home’s coloring and instructional drawing books on the right. I’d grown up leafing through drawing books from a very young age and I didn’t want the boys to miss out just because mine were hidden away in my office. The center square thing has become a homework depot (rather than homework remaining piled on the table or chairs during the week) with space for their binders and duotangs, as well as now being pre-stocked with construction paper, looseleaf, bond paper and cardstock, and the horizontal storage unit is all set up for them with glue sticks, scissors, erasers, sharpeners, etc. All of their colored pencils and markers and such are in the top drawer right under the coloring books, so whether they’re up to some crafting or sitting down to homework, everything they need is right there.
I also did a similar complete overhaul to the den (I think that was between mine and Yannick’s bouts… ughhhh…), and am currently on a break with the kitchen about 85% complete to work on my office. No pics of the rest cus there’s only so much of my mess I want to make public LOL
My hair 🙂
In the middle of all the illnesses I returned to work for the first time since roughly August. Finally getting to be around people again was reason enough to treat myself to a little salon time, and I redid my crazy colors once more.
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Remember when this was a knitting blog? *grins* Well this post is about crochet LOL
Last night I found out just how many geek & gaming videos one can watch while ripping out an entire sweater.
Earlier in the day I’d somehow found myself browsing granny square-related patterns on Ravelry yesterday, and stumbled across this pattern.
It’s the 171-35 Harvest Love Pullover by DROPS and it’s free on Ravelry. I think it’s got the potential to either look hideous or adorable on me, and hoping for the latter, I opened a new tab to check out my stash database and see if I had anything that might work. One yarn that came up was my Noro Silk Garden, because I’d never marked it as fully used in the v-neck sweater I’d knit last January.
This one. I’ve also never finished weaving in the ends for this sweater, because I’ve never been satisfied with how it fit or looked on me. I tried it on again last night and decided it was not going to ever be something I’d wear, and that Silk Garden is too gorgeous to leave relegated to a discarded FO box. So, I decided to frog it.
The process should have been easy enough: undo the bind-off on the neckline and rip that back, undo the bind-off on each sleeve and rip those back, then pull out the seam thread from each side, then undo the 3-needle bind-off from each shoulder and then frog the front and back pieces from neckline down to the hem. And it was… easy.
It was also a huge pain in the butt. I’d been so smart in my knitting that to avoid pooling I’d alternated balls of yarn every 2 rows. This now meant that every 2 rows I had to untwist the balls I was re-winding around each other. It wasn’t so bad on the body pieces because I could let them flip around to help me out, but the sleeves were still attached to the heavy body and had to be manually twisted after every short 2-row tugging bit.
So I guess now I’ve… got balls? Heh. I’ve also got a crochet chart to type out into rows I can tick off on a spreadsheet, and then I can get started on what will hopefully be the last project with which I attempt to use my lovely Silk Garden.
My phone has been pinging quite a bit lately, notifying me that people have been saving my pins. While I think that’s awesome, and am flattered, I was also confused because I couldn’t think of what I’d posted that would be so popular at the moment. And then I remembered – it’s almost Halloween! Sure enough, it was my Minecraft-related pins getting all the love, the Creeper/Steve head tutorial especially.
So for anyone who found my blog via those pins, or anyone else who’s interested, here are some quick links to my (few) Halloween/costume-related tutorials. I do have more coming up this month, so be sure to come back and see.
It’s a good thing I can crochet without looking, because I’m trying to watch last night’s episode of CSI:NY and so far its a silent episode! It’s like Buffy’s HUSH all over again, except this one seems to be sponsored by Green Day.