Sunday, November 30, 2014

Paper, Glue, and Tape

I had a great day this past weekend crafting with my sister and her daughter. They drove to my house and we spent the afternoon working on our own projects while watching Dr Who rescue planets.

My niece was working on a crocheted baby blanket. A pretty shell pattern. At one point she had to start a new ball and it turned out it was one of those skeins where you can't find the end from the centre without pulling out half of the ball.

And then it was knotted. So I worked on that for about 30 minutes while she grabbed a different new ball and kept crocheting. (What a prepared crafter to have at least two extra balls with her! Or maybe she was ambitious and thought she'd go through them both...)

After I had that sorted, I rewound the yarn with my ball winder. She was delighted to have a yarn "cake" instead of a skein. She agreed it was a good name for it because it was delicious.

My sister was working on sewing mittens from felted sweaters. Well, she never got to sewing them, but she cut out a lot of pieces and matched them up. I brought out all my felted sweaters that I have been saving up for a blanket. But that day is a long way off, so I let her use what she wanted with no dibs. She was delighted and couldn't help asking several times, "Are you sure? Even this one?" Yup, even that one. I can get more and even more important, I was glad to see them getting used.

And I decided to work on something completely different. I have been hankering after some magazine boxes for a while. The kind that hold magazines up on a shelf. But it has never been worth buying them.

Then while visiting my mother-in-law while she was trying to empty a house they were selling, she offered me a box of them. I was amused to see that they were from the same company I still get office supplies from at work, but obviously decades old. I think there was a 25 cent sticker on the box so I suspect she got them from a yard sale. These boxes have been waiting a long time to be used!

While my company was with me, I went through a bunch of magazines and ripped out anything that caught my eye. I also had leftover papers from my trip to the Netherlands because I had finally finished up my photo album by sticking in the papers and pamphlets I wanted to include. All the extras became fodder for this project.

After my sister and niece had to leave, I kept working on the project. (Watching Notre Dame get killed by USC certainly wasn't keeping my attention!) I assembled a box:
and then mixed my own decoupage glue. The online recipes recommended three parts white glue to one part water. So that's what I used.

I covered two boxes with the pictures and text that I had cut out:
Elephants, of course, because always elephants.
I loved this line of turtles looking like round little rocks.
Hands shaking:
And text from a sample book by Clara Parkes I thought was appropriate:
I was worried about the durability of the paper along the edges of the box so I decided to wrap the edges. I considered gluing paper or fabric like binding around the edge of a quilt but then decided on duct tape.

Fancy duct tape:
Coincidentally this was a gift from the very sister who was visiting me.

I cut strips long enough for sections of the box and then cut them in half lengthwise so they wouldn't be too wide. I didn't try to carry the strips past the non-square corners, but cut the strips and trimmed them so the pieces would meet neatly.
Unfortunately I didn't know I would be doing this when I put the paper on so I lost some of the elements like these turtles:
and some of the text and small pieces that were right near the edge.
I'm happy with my two boxes and also happy that I have eight more that I can do when I'm in the mood to pretend I'm in kindergarten again and work with some paper and glue.

Although I might try some spray adhesive instead of glue because of the way that the latter wrinkles the paper. I've done a little research online about how to avoid wrinkles (they say to let the first layer of glue dry before adding the top coat) but I'm not confident that it's going to work because I'm pretty sure I let one of the boxes dry before doing the top coat.

In the meantime, the only problem I will be addressing is whether to put the boxes on the shelf with the tall side or short side showing!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Had to Do it

Remember this yarn?
I spun it last month. It's been sitting on my coffee table ever since. I didn't know what to knit with it. It didn't have enough yardage for a hat which was my first thought. Then someone suggested a cowl. Maybe something like this one I knit last year:
But I didn't have enough yardage for that either. But I couldn't let it go. And I couldn't put the yarn away. I knew if I did, it would be stored for a long time and I would forget about it. I let it keep nagging me from the table.

I looked at patterns again today and I found another similar cowl pattern (link here). I didn't think I'd have enough for that either, but I had to try. I just had to work with the yarn and see what I'd get.

So I cast on some stitches on some very fat needles and worked some garter stitch. Maybe two inches.

I didn't like it. The yarn is too busy for garter. And it's too thick. And really, I wanted to see it in stockingnette stitch.

But meanwhile, since I had a sample knit up, I could measure the gauge I was getting: 20 stitches made 8 inches.

Changing to stockingnette stitch meant knitting in the round from the bottom up for various reasons. So I measured from my nose, around the back of my head and to my nose again and got 24 inches. That made for some easy math and I then cast on 60 stitches in the round.

I knit one row and purled one row to set up a garter stitch edging. Then I decided one garter round was enough (I was really worried about how much yarn I had and it didn't seem to be curling...much) and just started knitting and knitting.
It's not very nice knitting with the big, fat bulky yarn and big, fat needles, but I was interested to see how the yarn was knitting up. I knit to the end of the ball I had hand wound. And there it sits.

It's just short of five inches wide, not really tall enough in my mind for a cowl. I could maybe go a smaller (like 50 stitches?) but I don't think that will get me enough length to make a difference.

If I decide to keep it like this, then I'll have to undo a couple rows so I can add my purl row (to keep the top and bottom symmetric) and then bind off.

I could also supplement with another bulky yarn and reknit it with stripes. I have nothing in the right colour in my stash so I would probably dye some light blue cashmere that I have.

But I'm just not crazy about how it knit up. The stitches aren't balanced. (You can maybe see in the picture above that one side (or "leg") of the stitch looks very twisty and you can see all the plies. The other side of the stitch only shows one ply and it's much narrower--more vertical.) Blocking may help the overall feel or smoothness of the texture, but it's not going to fix those stitches.

I don't know. Now I have a unfinished cowl sitting on my table instead of a hank of yarn. But I'm chalking this all up to experience and hoping I'm learning a little bit about my own handspun yarn before I do some more.

Because I just won a new braid in the Malabrigo October Stockpile event on Ravelry. They were kind enough to send me this braid of Nube:
You should imagine the blue parts to be purple
because they are.
It is also sitting on my living room table, whispering to be spun up. I don't think I'm ready yet, but I don't want to put it away yet either...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cashmere Cap

Here's a little something I made in the late summer/early fall:
Isn't that a darling cap? I really loved the picture that came with the pattern, which made it look very much like a little flapper hat. Mine doesn't have quite that same vibe, but I still think it's cute.

I mentioned that I plied four strands of some thin cashmere I had raveled from a sweater (here). The yarn worked quite well and was easier to work with than separate strands. But not so much better that I'll be plying everything now.

The cap starts at the top and then increases to the final size.
I start with what is basically a provisional cast on over the yarn tail. Then when the hat is done, I can pull the tail so all the stitches come in tight before I work in the end. If I'm worried about the tail breaking, I may put it through the stitches a second time around before pulling it tight.

I think the eyelets are just sweet enough. Obviously this isn't a "high winter" cap, but being made from cashmere, it will be warmer than it looks.

But the real attraction in the hat is the scalloped edging:
All the scalloped edging I've ever seen is crocheted, but this is knit! It's a bit of a pain to do but I think it has great effect.

I'm worried the hat will be too short for my little niece that I gave it to. On the pattern picture, it comes down to a good length over the baby's ears but I don't think mine is going to, even though I followed the pattern measurements. I just hope it's long enough to stay on.
The hat was a enjoyable quick knit. And I learned something new!

Project Stats
Started
: 22 Aug '14
Finished: 13 Sep '14
Pattern: Little Flapper Hat by Hayley Albertson (free)
Materials: Raveled Cashmere Charter Club sweater, lace weight (or less) spun into a 4-ply (21 g) ($0.40)

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