Monday, May 24, 2010

It looks right...

Here's the status of my knitting adventure after 2 weeks working on and off:

It looks really funny because my needles are too short for the amount of stitches I have cast on, but it's still turning out decently. The edges are horribly uneven and I'm pretty sure the gauge is way off, but I don't really care about that for this project.  I can always crochet an edge around it to make it bigger if need be, or if I royally screw it up it'll make a nice blankie for my pup.

I've only had one major melt down so far, having to rip out about 4 rows of stitches after noticing 6 individual stitches (right in the middle of the work) were completely backwards.   There were many tears, and even more cursing, but eventually after enough ripping I got lucky and managed to put the stitches back on the needles in the right direction. Really...I had no idea what I was doing.  I just knew I needed 84 stitches on my needle and started slopping them back on.  When I started knitting again to see if I did it correctly, it turned out to be right. So it's safe to say, this project is going better than all past attempts considering I've gotten this far and only cried once.

Today I've been messing around with some scrap yarn and another set of needles, checking out knitting videos online.  I think I've gotten the hang of doing increases, and I even tried out using some double pointed needles for knitting in the round.  I want to make this sweater for my miniature dachshund eventually, so I'll need to practice those skills.

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Knitting for a cure

This past week has been hijacked by a monstrous head cold. The current week is not holding much more promise. Still, I craft on. In an effort to keep myself immobile, while still being entertained (of course this is the week our cable decides to crap out) I have decided once more to try and learn how to knit.

I can crochet fairly well and all other attempts at knitting have been thwarted due to the fact that it takes me so freakin' long to get to the same point in a project.  What I can knit in 2 hours, I could probably crochet in 30 minutes.  I get frustrated and then switch formats.  But not this time.

Here is what I am attempting to make (sans chair...although that would be nice):

If you want to learn more about the project, it's the "Plush Throw" on Lionbrand yarn's website.  It's a free registration, but that's the only way to access the actual pattern.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So what'dja make your momma?

Sunday was mother's day.  I hope you remembered. (And don't say I didn't warn you.)  I've been wanting to share this project with you since I found it, but since I made one as a gift for MY mother I couldn't very well post it until I had given it to her.  So here you go...straight from, the Starling Handbag.

You can find the pattern on her downloads page (which conveniently is the page I linked for you above.) I made 2, one for myself and one for Mom.  I followed the pattern for the medium sized bags.  For mom's I chose a light green sugar'n'cream crochet cotton and followed the pattern exactly.  I varied mine a little.  I used Cottonease yarn in charcoal, which actually looks Navy Blue. Also, the pattern calls for 30 stitches in the handles.  I made mine with 50, which after a couple of uses has stretched  to make them just long enough that I can carry the purse on my shoulder instead of using it as a hand bag (without feeling like the entire thing is falling apart.) 

I also followed her tutuorial for sewing a lining for the bag.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. It makes the project seem more finished. And if all of this seems intimidating, just relax.  With as many pictures and detailed instructions that she's got on the site...there's practically NO WAY you could screw up.  Really. These are some of the best tutorials I have seen on any craft site. EVER. Many kudos to her, for the amount of time and effort she put in to post these amazing projects.

So now you know what my Mom got. What did you make for yours?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Great Fail, Part II

I know it's been a week and you've been dying (insert sarcastic snort here) to find out what happened with my soap mold, but I have to stop and remind you that Mother's day is next Sunday.  So remember to take a time out this week to make her something nice. Okay...back to the story.

So after putting my mold together, I wanted to test and make sure it wouldn't leak.  As a general rule when choosing a soap mold, if it holds water, it will hold soap. Using this way of thinking, I lined my mold with wax paper and filled it with 4 lbs worth of water. It took all of about 10 seconds for that water to soak through the paper and start pouring out the bottom of the mold.  Luckily I had the forethought to set the mold on an oversized cookie sheet, so the water was well contained. Cleanup was easy but I was discouraged.

Panicked that my project had majorly failed, I ran over to the Teach Soap forums to request help from the scores of other soap makers who use wooden molds. They suggested differently lining materials, so that's what I tried next.  Parchment paper was the next test subject.  It held water for about 15 seconds.  Then came freezer paper. Maybe 20 seconds.  So I took another trip to Lowe's.

Vinyl gasket material.  That's what came next.  It's the stuff that is used to seal the edges of doors and windows.  I unhinged the sides of my molds, cut the gasket to length and then forced the hinges back on.  It was messy looking and ill fitting, and utterly horrible. But...I was going to give it a water test any way.  As expected, water poured out faster from my mold than ever before. The side boards were just elevated too far to make a tight seal with the bottom.

Once again, I ran crying to the forums. This time, my peers suggested just going for the soap.  That my problem may simply be that soap is more viscous than water and will do just fine, where the water keeps pouring out.  I haven't taken up that challenge yet.  The first step will be putting my mold back together minus the gasket material.  I'm extremely nervous about pouring hot caustic liquid into the thing and having it run out all over my kitchen. This could turn out to be a complete disaster, but I guess I'll never know until I try it.

What about you?  Have you ever had a project turn out so horribly wrong that there was no way to salvage it?