Tuesday, November 24, 2015

finished object Lap blanket

I always say I'm a slow knitter. And to some degree I am and to a larger degree, I don't spend a lot of my free time kniting. Heck, some people would say, I have no free time. And it is sort of true that I don't have a lot of free time as I have two children that keep me hopping, as well as tons of other things, but as I found out this month, if I make a point to knit while I wait for my girls to finish showering, instead of checking facebook or pinterest I will actually get things done!

What did I get done? Well a lap blanket!


At one point, I realized I was running out of yarn, and I wasn't sure it was long enough. But I had a great coupon and bought another set (for less than $10!) but then I worried that maybe I should just end it there. Usually if I get to fretting about a project, I'll stop working on it for a while. And I did that with this project and decided to weave in the ends, while I thought. And I asked on facebook how long people thought such blankets should be. In the end, I decided to add one more color repeat. And Monday night I finished binding off (and weaving in the few ends that were left). I decided then that I should do a single crochet all the way around because it was curling. After trying several times, and not being satisfied with how a crochet edging looked, I decided to scrap that part. So last night, I declared the project finished.

As you may recall--the blue, green and purples, are all Vanna's choice yarn. And I used just a little over 1 skein of each. The white is Loops and Threads, and is whatever was left on the skein I already had. Probably most of one. I used US size 8 needles, and the pattern is Chevron baby blanket. I didn't modify except to add length.

Now, all I need to do, is write up care instructions and get it delivered!

Next up sweaters for my girls.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

blanket progress

The big debate I had today was--write about my knitting or actually knit. And I love the project I'm working on, and it is going well, so writing about it wasn't first priority and then I thought--Hey I can show it off!

As you might recall I am working on a lap sized blanket for a member of my book club who is undergoing chemo. I'm using the Chevron baby blanket pattern. I'm using Vanna White yarn. Which while not the most cuddly, is affordable and washable. I think if I were going to re-do this I'd think about Berroco Comfort or Knitpicks mighty stitch. This is a fun pattern, and I love the colors I picked out. I hope that my book club friend enjoys it as well.

You might also recall, I set a deadline of Dec 2 for finishing. I started it for real on friday last week--ripped it out almost immediately and started over. And took some pictures to document the process.

This is Saturday--after a sleepover in which I knit during the movie and well past my usual 10pm deadline


Two days ago, I posted a terrible picture color wise to instagram.(took it on my ipad)

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

Yesterday it looked like this


and shortly before I started writing today:


with my hand for scale


I want to make it longer than the original pattern calls for because I'd like it to cover full stretched out legs. I worried about it being weird shaped given that it is only 28 inches or so wide. But we'll see how it looks as it gets longer. I'm wondering if this is just the first of several of this pattern I'll make, because wow am I really loving just about everything about this project.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

feast or famine

I swear my knitting life is feast or famine. Either I can't think of anything I want to knit or I have a bunch of projects or ideas for projects going. The summer of socks was kind of a reaction to that and after doing several plain vanilla socks I feel like I have the knitting feast back.

I finished a small project that is a gift and so I won't say much about it until it hits its recipient. Except that it made me want something like it, so I restarted a project I had finished and ripped out last year.

Then I finally got the girls to decide on colors for the sweaters I want to knit them, and that yarn is currently winging its way here.

THEN, well I started something a little ambitious. Or maybe starting is too strong a word since currently I have 16 stitches on the needle for an informal swatch. If this were a sweater, the swatch would be bigger, but this is a lap blanket and so I just want to make sure that a) I'm in the ballpark for width and b) that I'm going to like the fabric I'm creating.

And yes, I said lap blanket. A lady in my book club was diagnosed with some pretty serious cancer this summer. I'm not close enough to offer to do the things that would be helpful (meals, driving keeping company etc), but I feel moved to want to do something, so I decided I'd knit something. At first I thought hat, but not everyone likes hats. Then I thought fingerless gloves because I understand the chemo centers are cold and I know my friend likes to read. But fingerless mitts don't keep me as warm as I like, and several websites I saw suggested lap sized blankets. So I went looking and found one that I think she'd like.

Ok, it is called Chevron baby blanket and it was the number one pattern (based on popularity I think?) under the blanket pattern in Ravelry. I think it is a good size, although I want to be sure I get the width right because I could add repeats for length. I have not completely decided if I'm using 3 or 4 colors. I have bought three. Or rather I bought two and had one in stash. I am making this in Vanna's choice just because I want it to be easy care. I have a cream (which I owned and is not actually Vanna's choice, but another craft store brand) and a soft blue and a soft purple. I was considering a green. Michael's wouldn't let me use more than one coupon today (although they sometimes do) and so I decided to swatch a little and see if I need more yarn or colors. I can always make multiple trips.

I'd like to finish it before the next book pass which I think is December 2, although at the rate I have been knitting, I might not make it. I'm not really doing any hand knits at Christmas, so maybe this is doable. Plus I knit better on a deadline. Ok I don't knit better, I just decide not to clean and knit instead.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

halloween 15

Ok. So at this time of year, I usually take much needed sewing breaks from my making of halloween costumes to blog about sewing on said costumes. This year? Ok this year was both easier and harder.

It was easier because one girl decided to be sadness from Inside Out. And if you follow that link you'll understand the ease of this. We found some blue leggings at Kohl's for $7 and a fleece blue cowl necked shirt at the thrift store ($3!) and I bought some blue and white face paint and a blue wig. Due to my policy on not showing kids faces on the blog, I may not actually post the finished photo here. In essence this costume is more about the face, than the clothes.

But it was harder because the other girl had trouble making up her mind. First she wanted to be a three headed monster, than a princess, then finally a minion. But not just any minion--A cute minion. She declared a need for goggles, a tutu and overalls. I'd love to say that hey I have all that done and am basking slightly in the glow of the tealights in the pumpkins.


I have in fact purchased at thrift store a shirt the right color and was told it a) smelled like old man (Before I washed it--I wanted her to try it on so I could return it! if it didn't fit) and b) had a turtleneck. So I washed it and removed turtleneck. Then she said she wanted to wear her blue leggings so ok. But then she wanted a tutu that "stuck out" and overalls with a Grue symbol.

This is what I have come up with:

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

I created the overall part, managed a buttonhole! and used fusible web to create a Grue eymbol. She thinks the tutu is too long but eh.

Goggles might be the end of me. I saw a tutorial on Pinterest that used canning lids and wiffle balls, but I thought I'd use very large googly eyes instead. BIG MISTAKE. Those googly eyes are too big for ANYTHING. and nothing I've been able to work out has satisfied her.

So basically I am waiting for her to come home from school and approve the latest incarnation which is a wide mouth canning lid and said eye. She can go as one eye or I can glue a second one on. Maybe. I don't have the rivet tool from the pinterest tutorial I found, and so I bought elmers brand super glue and I'm hoping there is enough surface between two lids to glue.

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

So here I am basically last minute (wearing these to school Friday) throwing stuff together. I hate that feeling! But I have a coffee date planned for after everyone is off and I plan on sleeping that extra hour out over the weekend, and come back with more knitting in November!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


I used to really love fall, the leaves turning, the apples, the digging out of handknits. This year I find myself hating it: the mornings are darker, the days are colder and I put off digging out the handknits. I'm trying really hard and the days lately have been helping. Spectacular days with colorful leaves are making the morning exercise go much smoother, but still, I'd rather go back to summer. A lot of people hate knitting in the summer, but I love it in part because when you finish something you can put it away almost like a Christmas present to yourself when colder weather gets here. Which I guess is a long way of saying, I pulled me new socks out of the drawer the other day and it made it a little easier to get going on a cold morning.

I finished the last of the "summer socks" and will take a picture later when the recipient can model them. I was very close to finishing them last week right before we decided to go on a short trip. I didn't want to take them along and finish them on the road and not have anything else to knit, so I decided to do that really stupid thing that always gets me into trouble and bring yarn, needles, and pattern and start a new project.


I picked this yarn that my mother in law gave me. She had bought it and a pattern at her quilters lock in. And someone told her they went together. The yarn is Linaza and the pattern is Dragon Hide Mitts. The pattern calls for a DK weight yarn and as I discovered 1/2 hour down the road, Linaza is not DK weight.

So I swatched. And I swatched again. I ended up never getting guage, never even getting close, but getting to the point where if I made a bigger size, i could stand the fabric I was making on size 1.5 US and even then, it was a little airy for mittens. But I started anyway. About 4 rows in, I realized I was doing seed stitch instead of 1X1 ribbing and I just gave up. Perhaps this yarn is not going to be THIS pattern.

But it does leave me at loose ends.

I have the socks that were on the needles done. I have, I think, gotten a little tired of socks, and I'm not wanting to dive into the other sock project I have. The girls have not decided on colors for the sweaters I want to make them--which is getting old. So what should I make?

While I decide, here is a picture of me on a turtle from our trip. My handknit sock is sort of peeking out.


Friday, October 02, 2015


Still moving along on socks. Not much to show, except I'm working on the ribbing of what might be the last of the summer socks.

Not much to say about halloween costumes, blue face paint and blue leggings have been aquired. One trip to Goodwill, and one short trip to Salvation Army have not turned up an appropriate sweater. Still waiting on the other child to stop changing her mind every 10 minutes.

Last week the weather turned slightly nippy (and yesterday decidedly nippy) and when it was highs in the upper 60s low 70s I decided to bust out the shrugs. I often don't really know how to wear them, or which ones look best. But I remembered to take selfies with 3 out of the four I wore. It turned a bit colder before I could get the fifth one worn, and I have no idea why I didn't selfie the other, probably because I wore it first.

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

I love shrugs, and I always feel like I never get to wear them, and I guess given that I had exactly one week in which they were weather appropriate, there might be something to that. We may still see some warmer temps, but the key may be to dig them out in the spring.

Progress has been made in these areas!

I finally figured out how to keep the cocoons in the garage wfor the winter, protecting them from mice, but still allowing air circulation. I have a used fish tank and today I bought a wire mesh cover like you'd have if you wanted to keep mice in. I bought it at the pet store and probably paid more than I would had I made something myself, but this fits perfectly. I have moved out all the birch eating ones, and will be moving the lilac ones after the girls have had a chance to help me "arrange" them.

Also! I have yarn and patterns all picked out for sweaters for the girls! Now all I have to do is buy the yarn. And since my LYS closed I don't feel at all guilty about online shopping. Whereas before I might try to order it from the store (because they never had enough of one color) and maybe wait forever.

So, am hoping that next week sees me complete the sadness costume by acquiring a sweater, and pinning down the other girl, ordering the yarn, finishing the sock and moving the rest of the cocoons.

Monday, September 21, 2015

wrapping up the summer of socks

I guess summer isn't technically over, but I feel like maybe the summer of socks is drawing to a close. As I said on instagram; the summer of socks is probably over when you feel the need to wear socks.

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

What I feel most bad about not completing is the large scale darning project I attempted. I hate darning, but thought it might be a good idea. In the end, I fixed the worst of my socks, and really what is left are places where some swiss darning or duplicate stitch would work (thin spots). My attempts at it have been less than stellar, and I need some practice. This is always a clue that it probably won't get done.

I did finish the first of the "emergency travel" socks. One of my daughters (the one who is not extremely picky about socks)claimed them.

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

Second sock is underway.

Also in the underway category, Halloween costumes. If you have been following me for a while, you know I like to sew these and I like to get a head start on them, because I am not a big fan of night before runs to the store for blue paint or whatnot. I thought initially that there would be little or no sewing involved this year. One girl wanted to be Sadness from Inside Out. I figured blue facepaint, blue hairspray, blue leggings and a trip to some thrift stores for a light blue or off white turtleneck sweater and presto.
The other daughter wanted to be a three headed.... something. Again, not terrible, wig stands from the craft store, a toy football shoulder pads to attach them, maybe make a garment to cover it all and presto!

The three headed girl wanted to look at patterns. (no sadness patterns this year, still no Olaf patterns) Remarkably three headed girl changed her mind. She decided she'd rather be a princess. Perhaps like Glenda, but more grown up. (she was Glenda in kindergarten). We found a pattern that she liked and bought it (on sale--score!). She wanted to buy fabric RIGHT NOW, but I made her wait until I could read the pattern. This weekend we went fabric shopping. There was talk about scary blood stained lace princess, silver princess, fuscia princess. Imagine my surprise when suddenly she wants to be a minion.

Officially, I have no idea what to do. I gave her a deadline (October 1) and I guess I'm leaving it at that.

As for the future, aside from much shopping at thrift stores, and possibly attempting to make minion goggles from canning lids, I want to plan sweaters for the girls. It has been three years since I made them sweaters, and they have both outgrown them. I made a gray sweater and a purple sweater. The gray sweater replacement will be the same pattern, possibly in gray(!) or maybe pink, or maybe blue or maybe.... (Yes, she wants to be a minion this week). The purple one wants to look at celeb and gossip magazines to find a "fashionable" sweater. I think we will be looking at ravelry--easier to figure out if I can actually replicate. She is thinking a blue green that will "compliment her eyes." Never a dull moment when you live with tween girls.

I'll keep you posted.