A weekend of yarn

pile of new socks

I received another Craftsy box last Thursday, which contained a Worsted 3-Way Scarf Kit I bought during one of their latest sales.  I really do love their sales.  Generally, you can’t even get the yarn for the price these kits go for.  Even if I wasn’t going to knit a scarf, I’d probably still buy the kit just for the deal on yarn.  So I got the kit, picked out one of their 3 designs that came in the kit and got to knitting.  This started off a weekend of yarn.

knitting a scarf

I picked the kit in the color “Denim”.   It turned out to be a pretty simple pattern, which is basically knit the right side and a 1×1 rib on the back which gives this texture.   I generally put on a documentary when I work on crafts and sometimes I get sucked in and lose count of my stitches.  I’ve already screwed up several times. You might be able to see my mistakes at the top right. But as I go it’s getting easier and easier, so I may just rip it all out and start again.   Or I might leave it, because — who cares.

When I needed a break from that I started knitting socks.  Turns out you can screw those up pretty badly as well.   Take these socks for instance:

forgot to knit the heel

Somehow, I completely missed an ankle and heel on one of the socks.  It was going to smoothly and then when I preparing to sew up the toes to all the socks I made, I saw this. I thought about ripping it up and trying again, but I’ve done that before and it really isn’t worth it.   The way the toes and heels are made basically knots the yarn together, so it’s very difficult to reclaim the yarn.   I’d rather just not.

As you can tell, I was totally winning at everything last weekend.

pile of new socks

In the end, I still came out with a pile of finished socks.   And that sock on top is made from the yarn I was excited about in my last post.

And when I wasn’t playing with yarn, I was deep cleaning my room.   I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a bit of a craft supply hoarder.   So I went through all my dresser drawers and started tossing anything I haven’t looked at in years.

Who needs this drawer full of shirts?  Not me!   This drawer could fit so many hanks of yarn in it.  And this other draw would be perfect for paint brushes!

So yeah, I love plenty of drawers empty now and waiting to be filled with supplies that are hiding throughout the house.

Getting the Sock Machine up and running

Last weekend, I noticed that some of my socks have been wearing out.  It’s been about a year since I’ve made socks and my feet can destroy shoes pretty quickly, so it wasn’t a surprise to start seeing holes in my socks.  I wanted to play with new toys, but I decided to get the sock machine up and running instead.

It took a few tries to remember how to make a sock, which was frustrating, but I eventually remembered all the steps and started pumping out new socks.

I started with some cheap yarn because all the steps were still stored in my head somewhere and I wasn’t 100% sure I was remembering the pattern for my foot correctly.  For a while I sat there staring at the machine and thinking how much easier it would be if I would’ve just written it down somewhere.  Even after making these socks, I still haven’t written it down.   You know what would be smart?  Putting a basic pattern here while I’m thinking about it, so I remember the row counts next time I bring the machine out.


Basic Men’s Ankle Sock – Size 12/13

72 needles
~100g/400m wool fingering yarn

Knit 50 rows
Hang Hem to form cuff
Knit 25 rows for leg
Work Heel
Knit 65 rows for foot (or length necessary for foot)
Work Toe


I visited the local yarn shop on Saturday to get excited about making socks again and found some really beautiful yarns.   The picture doesn’t do it justice.  In real life, it’s pretty dark and has touches of color throughout.   It’s surprisingly difficult to find yarn appropriate for a men’s sock and requires quite a bit of hunting and scavenging.  Most yarns are too bright and too colorful and it’s hard to find more muted colorways that are still interesting enough without being a boring solid color.

Now that I know what I’m doing again, it’s time to produce another truck load of socks.  Get ready for another avalanche of sock posts.   Lucky you. 😉

Basic Ombre Knitted Hat

Ombre slouchy knitted hat

One of my local yarn shops is going out of business so I have been stocking up on some of those expensive specialty yarns I might not normally buy.  Some of the yarns I was looking at were $70 a skein!   This ombre yarn was probably half that price normally and with the going-out-of-business sale prices, I figured I could splurge to make a basic ombre knitted hat.

basic ombre knitted hat

One thing I noticed, after my first few hats, was that they were pretty loose on my head.  I’ve never really knit clothes that needed to have any specific dimensions, so I had pretty much just assumed I would get the right size if I used the right needles and the correct weight of yarn. None of this really matters when you knit a blanket or a scarf as long as you’re consistent.

I pulled out the same basic pattern from the Craftsy Cloudborn Basic Hat Kit I did a few days ago and started by checking my gauge and knitting some sample swatches (I know, I should’ve done this the first time).   It took me a few tries to get it right, but it turned out I needed needles 2 sizes larger and I have to knit much more tightly.  And because I was knitting tighter, I crammed a lot more rows into this project and it took a lot longer than the previous hats I made.    So I’ve been knitting every night to get this done because I decided I wasn’t going to open any of my recently arrived packages of goodies until I finished this project.    I’ll probably wait on those packages until this weekend when I really have time to get into them.  Until then I’ll cram in some new projects with all the fun yarn I bought.

Pom-Pom Makers

yarn pom pom

pom pom maker set

Apparently, I’ve taken up late-night shopping on my phone.  All of a sudden plenty of amazon and craft company boxes started showing up.  I didn’t realize how many buy buttons I clicked in the past few weeks but everything I ordered seemed to show up all at once!   At least I will have plenty of things to write about.   The first item I opened up was this set of pom-pom makers.

Now there are plenty of pom-pom makers out there, but this was the one marked as amazon’s choice, which means it’s inexpensive and has good ratings.  Most of them look the same and they’re all made of cheap plastic, so why pay for a name brand when you can pay half price for the same thing, amirite?

I bought this because I’ve been knitting beanie hats like a mad man the past week and some of those hats are going to need a pom-pom dangling from the top.  The directions are simple, just fold out the little arms and wrap each pair of arms in yarn and push the arms back in.


To be honest, I hated this part.  Wrapping the arms was easy, but tedious.  Then, something amazing happened.   I started cutting the yarn down the center guide and the pom-pom started popping open in the most satisfying way.

cutting yarn to make a pom pom
It was so satisfying that now everything in the house will need a pom-pom.  Good thing I’ve been saving all my scrap yarn from the million socks I’ve made!

After cutting each side, tie a piece of yarn around the center, pop open the arms again and the whole thing will fall apart to review your almost-perfect pom-pom.

yarn pom pom

Pretty good for my first try.  A few little snips here and there and it’ll be a perfect little ball for my hat.

Cloudborn Basic Hat

Cloudborn Basic Hat Started

Cloudborn Basic Hat Started

Craftsy.com had one of their big sale last week and I ordered a few beanie kits.   I’ve never knitted hats, or knitted in the round really, so I thought I’d take advantage of a sale and give it a shot!   The first kit I ordered was the Cloudborn Basic Hat kit in red.

As the product name suggested, it’s a pretty basic slouchy hat.  A few rows of ribbing, a bunch of knits and then reducing it until it’s time to close up the top.

Cloudborn Basic Hat Finished

It was really hot this weekend in Seattle, so I pretty much locked myself up in my air conditioned room and knocked this hat out pretty quickly while listening to some documentaries.

I’m pretty happy with it being my first hat.   I sat down last night and started the next hat, which uses a chunky yarn, so I’m almost done with that as well.  Once I get a few of these under my belt I’ll probably break out the fingering yarn and knit some finer stitched hats.  I have lots of fingering weight yarn from all my sock stuff so I should probably figure out how to use some of that up!

I’ve got a golden thimble

20180629 1430419047445876019640006

golden thimble

Baby Lock and Brother are coming out with their latest release of their high-end sewing machines and because of this, I’ve got a golden thimble in the mail to woo me into giving them more money for the latest machine.  Ya know, because apparently I’m a baller in their eyes.

I like being on the list of people they want to schmooze to buy a new product.    The problem I have is with the approach they’re taking with the new release.  They want me to slap down $1000 down payment for the right to a discount when it eventually comes out.  Which, I guess is not uncommon these days especially when you’re talking the amount of money these things go for.   You put money down for the right to buy the latest Tesla car and you put money down for the right to buy a flagship Baby Lock machine too.   If you’re not a sewer, you probably wouldn’t know that.   Oh right, back to the problem… They don’t tell you anything about the machine.   Just that it is coming and it has features.

It 👏 Has 👏 Features. 👏

No word on what those features would be but for $18,000 it better have some life-changing features.  I’m not looking for a new machine, but if I was, I’d need a lot more information than that before I’d pony up some money.  And for $18,000 I better be able to throw some fabric into the sewing room and return to find whole new outfits sewn and waiting for me to try on.

I tried googling the new machine but they are keeping it pretty hush-hush.  Not even any rumors on it.   Even the sales people didn’t have anything on it.   I kind of feel sorry for them.  It can’t be easy selling a mystery product at that price point.

Antique Weaving Loom

I’ve wanted to play with a loom and try different types of weaving as long as I can remember.  I shop online for them all the time but I just never pulled the trigger on actually buying one.  The problem is that I look at what companies are selling and I just can’t seem to justify the price in my mind.   If you look at most small looms (tabletop or lap) it really takes the most basic of woodworking skills to make one.  I don’t understand how they charge hundreds to many thousands of dollars for a few pieces of wood and screws.  As a beginner, I don’t really want to make one, I want to know how a professional one works first.

basic loom

So the last time I was at the fabric store I saw a mini weaving loom loom on the shelf.  Basically a picture frame with sawed out grooves for yarn.  For a few dollars I figured I could play with this and see how interested I really am in it and maybe use up some of that scrap yarn from all the socks I’ve made.

basic loom warped

While this is great for tapestry work, not so much for weaving.   I didn’t realize you’d end up sewing your way through it since there is no heddle or shuttle and then using a rake/fork to push all your work down since there is no beater.   I played for a bit and hated it.    I may make some hangings at some point with it, but my main goal is to use my piles of scrap yarn to make some scrappy scarfs.

I took to scouring craigslist for local looms.  Most looms you find are large floor models, which I definitely don’t have space for nor do I want to move one.  Eventually I saw an ad for a 1927 model from an artist’s estate listing.  I emailed and that weekend ran over and got it.

1927 structo aircraft loom

I dragged it to the back deck, ignoring that I had not completed mowing or did any of the other yard work and got to cleaning every little nook and cranny.  See that gas can in the picture?  Yeah, that’s supposed to remind me to mow the lawn.

There was no way this thing was going in the house until it was sparkling clean.  I have a severe allergy to dust and cleaning this was going to be a struggle.   It had been sitting in storage since the mid-70’s.   I could tell because there was brittle newspaper jammed between the layers of warp thread on the back roller.

Hours later, all the dust and grime was gone and it resembled a wood loom again.

Now I need to figure out where to put this thing since I haven’t found my second hoarder house yet.   More to come once I find a place to set it up.

Still need a Bob

20180610 2056263364093669017463521

A while back, I painted the Belcher children to line my stairway:

belcher children acrylic paintings

It’s been on my to-do list forever to paint the parents to hang on the other side of the stairs.  Linda Belcher has been in progress for months now.  With summer here and the grass growing, I haven’t had time to finish it.

But it was raining this weekend, so I was stuck inside instead of laboring outside in the overgrown jungle that is my yard.

acrylic painting of linda belcher
 

She’s almost done.  I need to do some touch ups, paint the sides so it’s not bare wood and put a sealant on it.  Somehow I manage to paint even on the messiest table ever.

Even though my crafty time has been lacking the last few months, my yard is starting to come together.  Last weekend I finished the front tiers that are in my front yard.  It took me several weekends but I ripped out all the weeds and filled with rubber mulch.  Under the mulch are layers of tarps because I don’t want anything to grow down there…. ever.   It’s such a paint taking care of a yard on a hill.

20180602 162932

There’s still so much to do.  The top tier needs some work.  It has a large fountain, grass, and several trees.  I haven’t decided yet what I’m doing there.  I don’t even want to think about the staircase that runs down the other side of the front hill or the backyard.

Business Embroidery Patches

20180424 214638

20180503 104217

A friend asked me to make some embroidery patches for his work.  Which, at first, I rolled my eyes.   Then, to my surprise, he sent me the image.   For once, someone actually knew exactly what they wanted.  THAT I can work with.  I rolled my eyes back from inside my head and got to work.

I grabbed my laptop and pulled up my embroidery software and started poking around.  Embroidery software — good software — is extremely expensive.  We’re talking thousands.  So it was nice to have a new project to actually use it on.

Digitizing artwork for embroidery isn’t very easy.  The software is great, but there’s a lot to know.   My first few attempts at stitching this out were flops.  I realized pretty quickly how the layers were building up and getting too thick to stitch.   A needle broke on one of them trying to get the letters on top of 2 other layers.

Finally, I got the project down to 2 layers: a background and lettering.  I could’ve even got it down to 1 layers, but I wasn’t confident it would look great when it was done based off what I was seeing on the screen.   It looked like there would it was producing a gap between the letters and background. So I did 2 layers and slowed the machine way down to minimize mistakes and breaking of needles.

20180424 214638

It looks like it came out great.  Though I am wondering if they’ll say it has the wrong colors.  The problem is that businesses have very specific colors for their brand and embroidery thread does not come in a color range that will support that pickiness.  I sent it off last weekend so I hope to hear back that they like it.