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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

on the mend

I'm back at home from the hospital and recovering. My minor surgery went very well and I'm on the mend. Thankfully, I have plenty to keep me occupied while lying around.

books and yarn

Currently reading Home by Toni Morrison, one of my favorite authors ever; and the short story collection Night Shift by Stephen King. I know; could they be any more different? I guess I just have a wide range of reading interests and since I've been reading King since I was about 11 years-old, his writing always feels like "comfort reading" to me. That probably sounds rather crazy since his books are about crazy things! But once I began choosing my own books as a child, I read a lot of King, Judy Blume and Hollywood biographies (because that's what my parents had at home, which begs me to ask "Mom and Dad! Where was the supervision??").

And I'm still currently knitting a sock, with a pattern of my own making -- one that I'll be happy to share if all goes well.

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along and Tami's WIPW today.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

a yarn over as the first stitch on double pointed needles

I'm working on a sock pattern right now that features a yarn over (or yarn forward) as the first stitch in a round on dpn's. I've done this before, but I remember the first time I knit a pattern where a yarn over was the first stitch in such a round, I didn't know what to do! It was confusing and fiddly and I made a number of attempts before I finally did it.

I looked around online and didn't find much on how to execute a yarn over if it's the first stich on dpn's. You can always play around with how the stitches are arranged on the needles, but depending on the number in the pattern count, this isn't always the easiest solution.

So today's tutorial is how to make a yarn over on dpn's if it's the first stitch in a round. I hope it can help someone out there and spare them the headache I got when I was trying to figure it out. Also, I knit English style or "throw," so that's the method I'm demonstrating here, not Continental.

Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle as if to knit. See the pink yarn to the right? That's the working yarn.

knitting

Bring the working yarn under the right needle from back to front.

knitting

Now wrap the working yarn around the right needle as you normally do when you knit a stitch and knit that first stitch from the left needle in the usual fashion.

knitting

Once the stitch is worked and dropped from the left needle, you should have two stitches on the right needle. The stitch to the right is the yarn over stitch; the stitch to the left is the regular knitted stitch. You can see a small space between them, which is the yarn over.

yarn over made

Of course, this only applies when the yo is first; any other yo's in the middle of the round don't require such acrobatics. And working yo's as the first stitch on circular needles poses no problems. Maybe you do it another way or an easier way, but this is what I found works for me. If you do have an easier way, feel free to share!
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Friday, May 18, 2012

guilt-free weekend planning

This past week has been very rainy and uncharacteristically cool, so if the weekend holds more of the same, then holing up in my home and crafting the weekend away sounds like the best way to spend my time. After spending the morning cleaning the house from top to bottom, I know I'll have a guilt-free weekend knitting, crocheting and/or sewing.

"Dust bunnies? I sucked those up on Friday, there are no dust bunnies!" "Clean undies? Just look in your drawer, pal! Mama is busy crafting!"

Besides trying to figure out what in the world to make from this Twist & Twine yarn (colorway: Orange Blossom), which I won a while ago from a giveaway at Amanda's lovely blog

twist and twine yarn

…I know I'll be struggling to make doll clothes, which is exactly as difficult as I thought it would be.

Any suggestions for the fingering weight yarn are welcome!

Lastly, due to some ongoing health issues, I'm scheduled to go into the hospital early next week for a brief procedure. I've only ever stayed in the hospital when I gave birth, and I've never been put under before, so I'm kind of nervous. Although it should be minor, I'd still appreciate any prayers, well wishes, healing thoughts, etc. and I hope to be back very, very soon.

Happy weekend, all!
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

living with gardenias

Do you ever do things at times that you think everyone in the world knows about, so you don't share? I think that about myself a lot, but just in case there's one person out there who doesn't know this or that one thing, I'm going to make an effort to share more ideas. Because sometimes, we may have similar ideas, but execute them differently, right? That's my thinking behind today's post, anyway...

My lovely neighbors recently gifted us with a gardenia plant. How I love these flowers, especially that heavenly scent! When they bloom, I usually clip them and place them in a shallow bowl of water, where they don't need to do anything more than float and smell wonderful.

gardeniasgardenias

I clip them short; they tend to droop over if I leave the stems long, so putting them in a vertical vase doesn't really work for me. Instead, I cut them under the bulb, but not too close because I want all of the petals to stay together and not fall away.

snipped stem

Then I fill a shallow bowl with cool water and add the blooms. Easy, simple beauty in a matter of minutes.

gardenias

Did I mention that delicious smell?
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Monday, May 14, 2012

coming together

doll facedollbelly buttondoll hairfabric and buttons

Once I stitched the doll's face on, I really felt this project coming together. I'm not usually one for knitting toys because they're often so small and fiddly, but this may change my mind. I stuffed her, backstitched around for a belly button and spent a couple of hours adding hair. The hair was definitely time-consuming, but worth it.

Since I used old stash sock yarn for the body, I modified a pattern found here. My mods were:
  • Knit with US size 1 (2.25 mm) dpn's
  • Cast on 80 sts and knit to 8 in.
  • Divide in half, so 40 sts for each leg
  • Knit legs to 4 in.
  • Cast on 30 sts for each arm and knit to 3 in.
Otherwise, construction was pretty much the same, though I used backstitch for the eyes, mouth and belly button. This was nearly a 100% stashbuster, too, but I ran out of black yarn for the hair -- oh, ye knitting gods, why do you insist on parting me from my money? -- so naturally, a store run was in order, where I bought more black yarn and some fabric and buttons for a doll dress (along with some other goodies, so Mother's Day was terrific!). I'm not sure how I'm going to construct her clothes, but I have some ideas. The next time you see her, she should be properly dressed instead of showing off her belly button to anyone who walks by.
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

wrapping it up

flower
flowers
birthday cake
book and wip

I meant to do a little weekend wrap-up post, but work has been absolutely cray-cray so here I am, a day late and a dollar short. But I'm here!

Besides admiring Weedinator's handiwork in the garden, we celebrated #1 Girl's Sweet 16th birthday. 16! Time really does fly sometimes…She's dating age now so we're polishing up the ole shotgun, heh.

Joining Ginny for today's Yarn Along (and with Tami for WIP Wednesday), I've just cracked open Mansfield Park. For some reason, this is a much easier read for me than Sense and Sensibility, so I hope it doesn't take me forever to get through it. And I'm finally on the last of the doll knitting, working on that second arm. I haven't been in a rush to finish because I still need to decide what this dolly is going to wear. After all, I can't have her running about the place nekkid. I want to finish her stuffing and her outfit at about the same time, so it's back to the craft store for fabric and buttons.

Don't worry, I'm not complaining.
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

spring table

table1

This is our kitchen table, now complete with handmade placemats. Do you remember this fabric? Oh, I only bought it last year. *sigh* Anyway, the floral mats are for me and #1 Girl, while the dotty ones are for the boys, ages 7 to 42. Different prints, but with coordinating colors.

As you can see, the mats are reversible.

table2

Whoops, suddenly I'm hearing a rendition of Sesame Street's "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others"!



See that mat there, with the stripes going vertically instead of horizontally like everyone else? Seems I wasn't paying attention when it came time to cut that backing. I did have enough fabric to cut another back the right way so that all would have horizontal stripes, but in the end, I was okay with the matchy-unmatchy of the set.

rebelmat

After all, I'm not perfect and neither are my projects.

flowers2

And don't worry, much as I love my sewing machine, I still love yarn, so I'm back to knitting today. Have a lovely day, all!
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