Procrastaknit

Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Fresh Off The Needles: Sandpiper Cowl

Today I woke up at 4am and was too restless to fall back asleep. Best thing I could do was finish knitting my new cowl so that something pretty by my face to distract people from noticing the bags under my eyes.  Now my Strandlaeufer (Sandpiper) Cowl by Ankestrick (Ravelry name of pattern and designer) is all done!  Minus the blocking, of course, but I already wore it out today, so it’s considered complete.  🙂

Since so many people complained of the edges rolling up, I modified the first few rows with a P1, K3 ribbing in the dark color, but it did not really work. As you can see by the photos it still folds.   My gauge is is 20 stitches for 4 inches. It’s not as loose as the photo from the pattern and I don’t think blocking it will help much. More likely than not this project will felt and shrink a bit in size, to make it a cozy and really, really warm neck hugging cowl. Considering I just moved to New England I think it’s probably for the best anyways.  Maybe blocking will help it, maybe it won’t. Either way that’s how it’s staying

I ran out of the light blue color a little after completing the four solid rounds.  Because of I had bought this yarn at my old LYS in Virginia and didn’t want to wait for it to be mailed, I modified the proceeding rows to create a diamond motif with the white.  Sadly, I ran out of the blue just 18 stitches short of my marker on the last row of the pattern.  Darn, I was so close! Oh well, that’s how it’s staying.

I should’ve realized when I casted on that the yarn (Kashmir Alpakka by Sandnes Garn) is mostly alpaca, meaning it has no memory and no elasticity to it.   Meaning, that the ribbing wouldn’t keep it from flipping and showing the inside strands.   I decided to forgo the ribbing with the white cast off edge and just did the plain knit as indicated in the pattern.  The way I figured it was going to roll up anyways, so at least it should show off the small little pattern I created instead of covering it up completely. So that’s how it’s staying.

 

The end result is about half the size of the original pattern with some of my own unique modifications and I am quite happy with it as is.  I have no doubt I will get a lot of use out of this cowl!

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Off Topic: The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

TiggerHere is another random little craft project I’ve made, this one is for my friend’s Winnie the Pooh themed nursery.  I am loving Pinterest more and more everyday; I found the tutorial for this project there from another blogger: This Lil Piglet.  It was very easy and a lot of fun to make, but I should not pick up painting as a hobby, I have a weird tendency to obsess over the details which is very uncharacteristic for me.

I got the image of Tigger (my personal favorite character) from a book I bought at Goodwill.  The other materials I bought from a major craft store: small canvas, two bottles of acrylic paint, and some paint brushes.  I did not buy a bottle of mod podge as recommended by the tutorial.  Instead I made my own because it was for just one quick project.  Doing a quick web search and all you need to make your own mod podge is some white glue and half the amount of water – easy.  I diluted the orange paint in order to give it a water color feel to it, I didn’t want straight edges.  For the black stripes I just winged it as best I could.  And though you can’t see it from the photo the  sides of the canvas are also painted with the orange and the black of each stripe so as not to stay white.

I hope my friend likes this gift for her little girl because Tiggers are wonderful things! 🙂

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4T: Tips for Surviving a Fiber Festival

This past weekend was the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, more commonly known simply as Rhinebeck, the city where it’s held.   I have been dreaming of going to this fiber festival for years.   Now that we are living in Connecticut we are only two hours away from it and I had really hoped this would be the year I made the journey, my husband even offered to make it a trip of it as my birthday gift.  But I am too close to my due date to be making such a long drive or comfortably explore the fair grounds with my big belly, so I will just have to wait a while longer.  Next year for sure!

Though I haven’t made it to Rhinebeck, I have been to many fiber festivals over the past few years and just wanted to share with you some tips if you’re venturing out to one near you.

  1. If you are on a strict budget bring cash only; leave the credit cards and check book at home (or give it to someone reliable to hold them for you for yarn emergencies only).  Most vendors will prefer cash anyways and some might even have shorter lines and/or offer discounts if you don’t use plastic.
  2. Come with a few patterns in mind.  If you know the weight and yardage of the yarn you need for that sweater that has been sitting in your Ravelry queue you won’t risk buying too much or not enough. Festival are great places to discover new brands and a terrible place to guess the correct number of yardage needed to complete a project.  Since a lot of the vendors are small farms or dyers their supply is limited especially in the matching dye lot, so make sure you get what you need to make what you want.
  3. Sun block, sun glasses and a hat OR an umbrella, rain coat and wellies.  A lot if festivals take place outdoors so you need to be prepared to fight the elements.  I’ve been to muddy fairs and sunny fairs, it is rare to have a picture perfect day in terms of weather.  If Mother Nature is being cooperative, at the very least make sure you wear comfortable shoes that will keep you moving all over the festival grounds for hours.  I’d suggest you avoid sandals and other open toed shoes, people will step on you and there are animals (and their waste) all over.
  4. Pack a lunch and/or snacks, especially if you have dietary restrictions.  Festival food is made up of delicious fried goodies and fresh meat from the farm (especially lamb), not a great option if you are glutten free or a vegetarian.  Plus that’s money you could be spending on yarn.  I usually put things in ziploc bags or a container that I can throw away when I’m done eating – that way I don’t have to worry about carrying tupperware around and I end up having more room in my bag for my purchases.
  5. Water, water and more water!  You need to be hydrated or you might just pass out from the excitement of seeing all of the new fiber goodies around you.  It’s better to take a Nalgene bottle with ice and let it melt gradually throughout the day, than it is to pay the overpriced plastic bottles that the food vendors will sell.
  6. Bags! You want to carry a purse with a strap that is long enough to go across your body, leave the cute tote at home it will weigh you down.   Another good option is an empty backpack, its great to carry all of your purchases and a lot easier to handle than all the various bags filled with your new fiber goodies.  Plus, it keeps your hands free to pet the yarn.
  7. Foldable chair, beach towel or picnic blanket.  Some people go to socialize if you bring your own seat you might just join a knitting circle and make new friends.  Just remember to keep it as compact as possible, because you will have to lug it around a very crowded area when you do your shopping.
  8. Proudly wear your beautiful knitted garments!  Outside of LYSs, Fiber festivals are the BEST place to flaunt your finished projects.  You will receive so many compliments and start so many conversations with complete strangers that share your excitement, it will make you dizzy.  So don’t be shy, go ahead and wear a head-to-toe knitted outfit if you choose.  You won’t be getting a second look b/c people think you’re the crazy knitting lady; nope, instead you’ll be getting a second look so that people can admire your craftsmanship.

Have I missed anything?  What tips do you have for spending all day at a Fiber Festival?

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Tactile Variety Needed

Sometimes you just need to excite your senses.  Like when you first listen to a song on the radio, you’re not sure if you like; then it gets played again and you learn the lyrics and begin enjoying the tune; but soon it’s overplayed and you’re changing the station because you need another song to stimulate your sense of sound.

The same can happen with yarn.  Yes, I love merino wool, and if it’s superwash I’ll use it a lot for garments.  But overusing can bore my fingertips and my hands were craving something softer.  BRING OUT THE ALPACA YARN! 🙂 Even though it sheds, it’s undoubtedly one of my favorite fibers.  So I’ve procrastaknitted on my two merino wool sweater projects and casted on a beautiful colorwork cowl called Sandpiper by Ankestrick (a free download on Ravelry).

Gotta remember to read the pattern from beginning to end so I don't have to rip it out

Gotta remember to read the pattern from beginning to end so I don’t have to rip it out

The first mod that I did to this pattern was in the first four rows. Others that have worked on this project have commented that it rolls up a bit, so I did a purl 1, knit 3 ribbing to prevent that and so that the purl stitch lines up with the first row of contrasting color.

Unfortunately, In my excitement to cast on this project I didn’t realize that the chart started with the dark contrasting color. I got all the way to round five before I had this realization. Nothing to do now but frog the light light colors and start over.  Here is the work I’ve done so far, now off the needles and ready for round two.

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Off Topic: Miscellaneous Crafts for the Nursery

Generally speaking my crafting abilities are somewhat limited to yarny goodness, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally venture out to try something new.   This has become especially true since I have gone down the Pinterest rabbit hole – I never thought another site would allow me to waste away the day as much as Ravelry, but I was wrong.  (FYI If you want to follow me there, my user name is also Procrastaknit)

I have especially spent a lot of time looking for non-permanent ways in which to decorate our nursery.  As much as I would loooooove to paint the walls of our rented apartment I know I’d hate to paint it over it whenever we decided to move out.  So I am settling for the smaller crafty projects and that’s what I wanted to show you.

The first Pin that I found and loved was turning a birdhouse into a little night light (Click here for the link to the blogger that has that tutorial).  But did I mention that the theme of my nursery is Super Mario Brothers?  So I while browsing the aisles at Michael’s one day I was so happy to find one shaped like a little castle just like the one at the end of every Super Mario stage.  I bought it, painted it and got two key characters from of Amazon.com to put on top.   My husband was also pretty happy about the look and even wanted to get involved with this project, so he got the light kit from Lowes and drilled the holes needed to install it.  Here is how our collaboration came out:

I bought the two little figurines from Amazon and glued them down tot he top

I bought the two little figurines from Amazon and glued them down to the top

Husbands are always happy to help with a craft project if they can use a power tool

Husbands are always happy to help with a craft project if they can use a power tool

The next project idea I am not sure if I found it on Pinterest or just off of a Google image search while prepping some of the decorations for the nursery.  I don’t have a tutorial pinned in any of my boards, so I had to improvise to recreate the framed cameo portraits of Princess Peach and Super Mario that I had found on my web search.   I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea, but I would like to contribute to the crafty community, so here is what I did:

Super Mario & Princess Peach Framed Cameos

Super Mario & Princess Peach Framed Cameos

Materials:

  • 1 Sheet of Black Felt Paper – got mine at Michael’s for mere pennies.  Plain cardboard or foam paper would also work for this project.
  • 8×10 Photo Frame (or larger), one for each character – got mine at the dollar store and I’m OK with that
  • Pins
  •  Scissors

Step 1: Do a web search for the character of your choice in a profile position

Step 2: If it’s a small picture enlarge it to fit it into a regular sheet of paper.  I copied and pasted the image I found onto Microsoft Paint, cropped out Mario’s head from his body, pasted it onto a new document and enlarged it.  Then I did the same with Princess Peach.

Step 3:   Print out the enlarged heads and cut out the shape of it.  Don’t worry if the enlarged image is blurried or too pixilated, you don’t need the fine details just a general idea of the shape.

Step 4: Use your pins to hold your paper cut out onto the felt paper in place.

Step 5: Cut out the felt sheet of paper by following the outline of the character print out.

Step 6: Remove back from frame and center the felt cameo onto it giving it an equal amount of white space around the figure.  Flip the cheesey family photo that came with the frame onto the white side (or just grab a piece of paper from your printer) place it over the cameo and then reattach the back of the frame.

Step 7: Step back and admire your ability to be crafty and then go hang it on the wall. 🙂

Optional Ideas:

Instead of just the plain white, you can get a different color sheet of paper or a mat (if you have a larger frame) and use it as the background color.  I thought about making the Mario’s background red and the Princess’ background pink, but in the end I thought that the more classic look would be best.

Similarly to the background a different color frame would be another great way to better identify the characters.

Adding a ribbon or a lace border would definitely make it cuter.  I considered using a lacy ribbon around the edge of the Princess’ frame, but I didn’t think that would go over well with the hubby.  Plus, I am a Libra, I prefer for things to be uniformed and balanced.

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