Sunday, December 22, 2013

Storms and Panic and Knitting

We were hit with the worst ice storm since 1998. It wasn't nearly as bad, but it is bad enough. I'm hearing trees crack, split, crash with a groan. Seeing the white ends of what were once healthy trees, bright even in the dark. Skyline is flashing with blown transformers. Constant sirens from ambulances, police cars, fire trucks. Earlier people were getting power back, the travel ban (yes, not an advisory, a ban. an emergency-only-otherwise-$500-ticket ban) was lifted. It was warming up just enough to be outside and start to clean up. Sleet last night added more ice coating, but you could walk around normally. You start to think that things are doing ok, Monday can start normally again. Tonight, I stood out on the road just watching and listening to it all. Seeing all the poor trees bent and coated with an inch of ice (or more). Trees that were full and lush in the summer looking so sad and limp. Cars parking in places normally bare to avoid being hit by all those falling limbs. It made my heart hurt. I went through that storm in '98. It was scary, but I was at home with my parents. Now as an adult, it's so much scarier. There isn't anyone you can turn to to make it better. To make it go away. The storm has ended, but it is also only beginning and that is terrifying. You realize just how helpless you really are against nature (I know anyone who has suffered through a natural disaster gets it). Despite all the "marvels" of the current age, we can still fall victim to something as simple as frozen water. Our walls, our lights, our ice scrapers are nothing compared to what a minor breeze can do right now. As I stood out there, turning towards each new fallen limb, I could see curtains twitching from other people looking out as well. I know I'm not alone, that I'm not the only one feeling anxiety over this mess. I know it could have been MUCH worse for us. But still I feel helpless, I still feel afraid, and I feel so small. My daughter hasn't really questioned much about it, she's looked outside at the weather but otherwise treating it like any other bad weather day. And I look at her and am reminded that it is now my turn to take care of things. To make things "ok" for her. What will happen come tomorrow? I don't know. But right now, we are safe, we are warm, and we have a support team of professionals out there now helping those in need. Thank you to all of our emergency responders, the line workers, the plow drivers, to everyone who just walked over and checked in on a neighbor. Thank you to everyone who is helping out in whatever way they can, be they small gestures or large. I can do none of that, so I will sit and knit and not get in your way.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mini Stockings

I've been busy churning out the mini stockings I mentioned in a previous post. I'm nearly done adding all the fluff. Since I finally fine tuned the pattern (on the 11th one out of 15, of course), I thought I'd post it! I wrote it out but I kept putting off photos. Nobody likes a pattern without photos, but sadly I kept forgetting to get in progress ones this go around. I'd like to make more, so if I do I will take in progress shots for you. Ready to get started? Of course you are!


  • Small amounts of worsted weight yarn (I used Red Heart Supersaver in Camo)
  • Size 6 (4.0mm) dpn needles (set of 4) or a needle that is 1-2 sizes smaller than what your yarn calls for. Gage really isn't necessary here, but you want a fairly snug knit. I knit loose, so I went down two sizes.
  • Small amounts of a novelty yarn or a contrasting yarn for a cuff (if desired)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Crochet hook if you prefer to crochet your cuff on (I used an H/5 mm hook, but it's all preference)
Cast on 15 stitches and divide onto 3 needles.
Work st st for 1 1/2"

Start heel:
This is where learning short rows comes into play. I use the wrap and turn (w&t) method for this. If you aren't sure how, or you want a refresher, use this link for an overview. (thank you, Purl Bee, for posting)

Knit 5. These stitches will remain on needle one, you'll be working on needles 2 and three. For me, it worked best if the remaining 10 stitches were all slipped onto one needle for the back and forth work.

K 10, w&t
P 10, w&t
K 9, w&t
P 7, w&t
K 6, w&t
P 5, w&t
K 4, w&t
P 7. 
Arrange back onto 3 needles.
Start rounds in st st again on needle 2. Pick up one stitch on either side of the heel flap (at the end of needle three and needle one) and knit two together to eliminate the gap. 

Continue in the round for 1", measured from the beginning of the heel flap.

Dec for toe:
K1, k2tog; rep around
K one rnd even.
K2tog; rep around.

Cut yarn, leaving a longish tail (6" is good) and draw through the live sts. Fasten off on the inside of your stocking. 

Now if you are like me, you might have a few gaps around your heel. This is where that long tail comes in handy. You can use it to tighten up any gaps you might have (I had a lot) to give it a neater look. Now you have a slightly misshaped stocking. Don't worry, give it a few tugs and pushes and you can shape it to look like a cute little stocking. I gave mine a bit of a nudge by the ankle and arch, slight tug at the top opening and pushed my toe in a little. Thats why I used a harsh acrylic, it tends to shape better than soft yarns. What can you do now? You can leave it, add a crochet chain or ribbon to hang it. Embroider an initial for gift tags or ornaments. Or you can add a cuff. I used some plushy novelty yarn I had and crocheted around the top of mine. Prefer not to mess with hooks? You can also pick up and knit a few rounds to give it the same look. Keep in mind that the inside will be folded down and on public view, so you might want to use either garter stitch or reverse stockinette. All a matter of preference, of course. 

Another idea of what to do with these, stuff those "fun size" candy bars or chapstick in them for gift ideas. My photo was cut off during rotation, sorry about that.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get ahold of me. Ravelry is probably your best bet, I check that constantly. I would love to see what colour combos you can come up with. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Now with Pictures!

As promised, a photo update.

Booze Shark!
Stolen by Hubs and requested in pink by my sister, he turned out cute. Made the fin a bit too far forward to put the laser beam on his head. But I do like that he fits on a can of soda too. 

In other news, my darling sister enlisted me in helping provide little gifts for a unit who will be overseas for the holidays (as if I don't have enough to make, right?). I tried making a granny square mini stocking but it just was NOT working out. Looked more like pac man than a stocking. I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong later, in the meantime I'm working on a knit version. Short row heel, which I am horrid at, but it didn't turn out too bad for the first one. I can fine tune it for the second. I have until thanksgiving to make 12-15 of these (hoping for a more accurate number soon). So of course, instead of knitting I'm blogging. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Knits for Others

This is how knitters (and crocheters) are.

Also, how unfair is it that spellcheck doesn't recognize crocheters but lets knitters slide in?

Back on topic,

My sister texted me after I sent her a photo of my finished Booze Shark (next post will be photos, promise. They just aren't on my laptop). She said if I was bored, could I look up some cute baby sweater patterns for her. Newborn to wee baby sized, January due date means baby needs warm stuff.  That was all the information I was given, so I went with it. Found her 14 freebie patterns and shipped them off to her (thank you dropbox, awesome thing to look into, cereal). I decided to whip out a few things of my own for her. Mind you, I don't know this person. No name, what she looks like, or even if my sister personally knows her or is doing this for a friend. And yet here I am, working on a sweater in between typing and browsing patterns for hats and booties (even if the baby never wears them, they are cute as hell). That is how fiber artists work. We make for others, even if we never see them. We give out of our stashes, out of our day, out of our lives for these projects. Whether it be for charity, benefits, hospitals, shelters for people or animals, we do this. Another knitting friend of hers chipped in some completed hats she had sitting around and I'm sure if she gets the time, there will be more warm items piling up. This is why I love other yarn people. When I knit in public, I almost always hear from a fellow knitter (or crocheter) about what they are working on. And nine times out of 10, it's something for someone else. So please, next time someone gifts you a handmade item that may not be your cup of tea, please thank them. Wear it once or twice, even if its just for photos. They put a lot of effort into it, even if they say otherwise. Time is something we never get back, we can always buy more yarn, make that sweater again. But the time is never reclaimed. And with the holiday season approaching, consider buying local items. You will be helping someone provide for their own family.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Post Halloween Letdown and Holiday Angst Upsurge

Nice wordy title isn't it? And I didn't even have to spellcheck. Ok, update time! I like updates, fills a post well and I can always use it as an excuse as to why I havent updated. I'm lame that way. Right now, the Halloween photos!

Captain Spaulding, it's a bit grainy because it was shrunk so much. 

Mine turned out ok, I don't have the photo on my computer I'll have to update in ANOTHER post because why not drag it all out? His we stuck on with medical tape, which held up really well with the ridiculous wind and rain we had. Wasn't a total washout, just wind driven sprinkles. Mine was held with a small clip, again stayed fine. I ended up giving it to a friend to wear with her witches costume. Again, need to find pictures. I'm terrible at this.

Some radio stations are playing christmas music already. I get the whole "put people in the holiday spirit" but could you at least wait until after turkey day? Wait until we are bloated with carbs and then pounce, we can't run after that third helping of pie. I'm slowly making my way through the SS gifts, not helping that I made myself something first. Hand mitts! Love the Maine Morning Mitts pattern (free, click the name and it takes you right to the pdf download), fits every hand size I've tried it on and it stays put. Working on a hat to match, sort of. I did not want an entire rib hat, so I settled for a ribbed brim slouch. So, I went back to the Layne Slouch, just made it solid instead of the purl rounds. I've made it once before and set it aside as a keeper. I just wish my rib wasn't so sloppy. I do have a pic of the mitts, hat is still in progress:

Bright and cheery, hopefully nobody tries to snitch them.

I did make something for my SS gift, a bacon ornament! I swore I posted about it once, apparently not unless its stuck in the drafts. He turned out bigger than I expected, but still cute.

Happy Bacon!

I found this guy on pinterest, I did a zig zag stitch to hold down the white parts, hand stitched the sides. My sewing leaves much to be desired, but he is cute. If I made him again, I'd use cream felt instead of the white. Also, pay more attention seeing as I almost added my ribbon to the wrong side (which is why it is slightly off kilter there). Also planning on making the Booze Shark (ravelry pattern download). Hoping I can fiddle with the pattern and make it two pieces that are stitched together, I'm awful at carrying my yarn without mucking up my gage.

Has anyone started on their shopping? I mean really started, like having to hide multiple bags shopping. I've gotten a few odds and ends, but nothing big. Which stinks, because I have less than two months to prepare for a birthday and christmas. Who is the hardest person to shop for? My mother is the worst, she insists there isn't anything she wants but I can't NOT get her something. After all, the offspring likes to pass out gifts to everyone (she does have unselfish moments). The worst part? Stocking stuffers. Once you are officially out of childhood, stockings are a bitch kitty to stuff. Perfume? Do I smell? Body wash? Do I REALLY smell? Lotion? Saying I have dry skin? Chocolates? Am I bitchy? Gift card? I hate this store and I'm only worth that much to you? Blarg. Fyi, folks, the dollar store can be your friend when it comes to kid stuff. Those washcloths that reconstitute in water are almost always a hit. Next update? MOAR PICTURES! ..maybe.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Costumes and Project Updates

Look, I actually did what I didn't think was ever going to happen! I'm updating in a timely manner! As promised, here are said cat hats:

Blue secret santa 

Hello Kitty inspired 
Bow is a free ravelry download offered by Elanor King under the name Bow Peep Decorative Bows

What else have I been up to? I used a hot glue gun! Hubs decided to be Captain Spaulding from House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. Not familiar with the movies? Produced by Rob Zombie, here is a stock photo for reference:

Captain Spaulding played by Sid Haig

Of course we had pretty much NONE of the supplies needed, but thankfully Pinterest saved the day! I used the tutorial provided by Over the Crescent Moon, and can be found here. It only took a few hours, and it only took that long because of the usual dinner/cleaning/kid time that happens around here. Plus a bit of time for glue drying. I only burned myself once, which is a minor miracle. Want to see?

Ta da!

Hubs modeling

Still unsure of how we are going to keep the darn thing on (can't exactly attach it to a clip), but knowing him duct tape might be involved. It turned out better than I could have hoped for, it's a bit on the wonky side but that was because I rushed. I was all excited about finishing it. Best part? I get to make one for myself! I'm going as Death and because I don't have a lovely hat like the one she wears in Death: The High Cost of Living, I'm making due. At some point, I need to invest in a hat like that. After all, who knows where you might have the occasion to wear it? Need to finish the offsprings costume, she now has a crown. Decorated it with green "gems", going to attach green ribbons (seaweed esque). Also have to finish her arm thingies and add straps. But I have 9 days! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Project Update

Every time I start a post lately, I keep promising to update more. And I fail miserably. So today, I skip that. I know myself better than that. Summer has been insanely busy, things have only settled down once school started and even that isn't all that settled. With those "core standards" being thrown at kids, we've had to buckle down on everything. I'm tired and frustrated, the kid is tired and frustrated, and between the two of us we are feeling defeated. Luckily, the teachers are on our side and are doing their best to help. Like parties at the end of the month if the kids have been well behaved. This month we are doing THE BIG PROJECT, which I believe there will be two in the year. We either have to construct a long house or a wigwam. That sucker is a test grade project, luckily we are fairly crafty people and have some decent supplies on hand. Except for glue. Of all things, we have little to no glue. Not even a single glue stick. Gah! Luckily, we won't "need" that for a little while longer, much more needs doing before then.

In other news, I've been knitting! Imagine that? I've been working on things to sell, and things to use up yarn, and things just for the fun of it. Making christmas gifts as well, made a cute little kitty hat (need to post a pic, I will), and making a second one for the offspring. She wanted a pink one, but I have some leftover yarn from my hornless unicorn hat so I'm using that up. With a red bow and the "hello" button, she can be a sparkly kitty! Also working on her sea witch costume, it isn't really knit friendly but I only need to make arm thingies and gloves. Possibly a crown or a head dress, which I'm sure I can work yarn into. I forgot to post my hornless unicorn hat, didn't I? I really need to remedy that, at least so you know I wasn't a total slacker.

They arent the greatest photos, but they still show the colours off nicely. The white is a sparkly white, Lion Brand Thick and Quick in Celebration. After posting for some debate, a horn was decided to be too much with such a striking mane. If it was all solid, a horn would have been ideal.

What else have I done? I finished those armwarmers that I was too cheap to pay for! They've worked out splendidly at the computer and under hoodies on cold days (I really need to invest in a midweight coat)

This is pre end weaving keep in mind. The colours didn't exactly match up, which was ok. I'm not that much of a stickler, but I would have liked to have a matching set. Solids for my next one. I attached buttons, not very well, but they are on there. Need to get a photo, I thought I had one but my IG says no. 

Hopefully, I'll have more yarn goodness for my next post. If you are on ravelry, you can always creep my projects! PriestessRaven  easy to find, picture is of a fairy. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Belt Mug Holder (or Mug Frog)

In my last post, I babbled about ALL THE THINGS I was going to make for my costume. It is now Wednesday, we leave Sunday morning. I managed to complete TWO THINGS!! Ok, one doesnt really count because it was a pre made item, but I still did something to it!. But here we are primarily discussing my mug holder, or mug frog. Started out like this: 
sometimes breakfast gets interrupted by brainstorming

I was testing out my frog material with Patons SWS and Noro Silk Garden. One because I knew it felted like a dream, the second because I liked the colour and I had some to use up. After some back and forth, frogging and erasing, I finally got it all together. Felted, only the Patons worked out. Not discouraged, I stitched and played around with both, and completed my objective! The Noro went to another needed accessory (photo at the bottom).

You will need:
  • less than a full ball of feltable heavy worsted wool. I used Patons SWS which is discontinued, but if you can get your hands on a suitable substitute (or a wool you are comfortable with). The Patons website suggests using Classic Wool Roving.
  • size 10 straight needles (gage really isn't important)
  • one button (your preference for size
  • heavy sewing thread or embroidery floss
  • needle that can handle the above mentioned thread and felted material
  • something for your loop, I used a piece of yarn. you could braid yarn, floss, hemp, whatever you like
Please note that a few of the pictures include the Noro attempt. I didn't take any of just the Patons, and didn't think to until after I had already stitched it up. Ignore the brightness please :)

Cast on 8 stitches and work in garter for approx 7". Bind off. Weave in ends, felt. 
pre felting

I tossed mine into the washer (in a pillowcase) on a hot cycle with towels, and it felted to just the right size. If you are a bit more nervous about sizing, felt however you prefer and keep checking. It does have a slight bit of "give" after it comes out, I gave mine a few stretches to make sure it would be right.

post felting

Now is where your sewing begins. Fold over about 2" of your strip of felt, and stitch it down to create your loop. Don't be fussy about your stitching skills, nobody is going to get close enough to notice if you match the thread :)

Once you have that nice and secure, attach your button (after you make sure your needle will fit through. I didn't and had to find another needle). Keep it loose, you'll need to make a shank.


Knot that off after you are done with the shank, and trim your ends.

Now for your loop closure. I used a length of the Patons yarn. Use whatever your preference is. Thread your needle (or if you are using something heavier, a snip in the felted fabric and a crochet hook to pull it through would work), and stab through to the other side.

Check to see how long you need your loop, too long and it will lay flat instead of holding it up all jaunty.

Knot off your loop and trim the ends.

Tadah! You now have a mug frog!

testing it out

Now in case any of you are wondering about the Noro strip, I managed to use it on my kindle cozy as a temp belt loop:

 Looks horrid, but nobody will see this anyways. Temp stitching but it will hold :)

I would love to see all of yours! Please share photos and projects :D

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pirates, ahoy!

Ren fest soon, yay! Working on some last minute accessories to complete the pirate wench look (that will be inaccurate anyways, but who cares). For you purists, yes I know that pirates and renaissance do not go together. However, our fair has a Pirate Invasion Weekend just for fun. Currently trying to work on a mug holder (one that slips over your belt and holds a tankard) that matches my outfit. Ok, not match, but at least look ok. No luck on rav, so guess what? Making one! Using Patons SWS, it is discontinued, but I'm going to test it in other yarns. I know this felts well and I need something sturdy. If I have time (haha, time. whats that?), I want to make my mug cozy to match  my outfit, especially as that will be more visible. But for now, start small. I forgot how much frogging is involved in "creating" a project, even for one as wee as this. Really puts a damper on things, but I will finish it! Some of you might wonder why I don't just purchase one there. And I might do that anyways (the leather shop down there is heavenly). But I'd like to wear the mug in, I might be tempted to bash a rude patron if I were carrying it. When (no if, damnit!) it is finished, I will post instructables :) Whats on your needles?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dear blanket, screw you. Love, me.

A friend of mine bought yarn for me to make a baby blanket with. No rush, she just wanted one on hand for a gift (she was thinking grandkids and knowing how old her kids are, I have loads of time). I started this once, dropped a needle, gave up and stuffed it away. Now because the darn yarn is in the way, I'm making it again. It's basically a giant dish rag. I have the pattern posted somewhere, need to update tags on my old posts yet but if you are impatient, here is a pattern link of the blanket: 

I'm not following it to the letter, I'm using Red Heart Buttercup yarn and ohhhh does it SUCK! It sticks to my dry skin, knots are almost impossible to pick out because you can't see through all the fluff, and it grabs onto every stray hair and lint ball in the air and doesn't let go. It is quite fluffy and soft, but I would hate to have it for anything other than a photo prop. I'm using size 17 needles so hoping it goes fast. The halfway point will be when I get to the second ball, we'll find out just how big it turns out then. In the meantime, I'm just going to curse at this knot that is preventing me from finishing a row with TWO STUPID STITCHES LEFT. Maybe this will inspire me to finish my ugly hat!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Current WIP

I feel like I've been neglecting this blog, and I totally have. But I've been busy doing ALL THE THINGS and seemingly getting none of them done. Working on a Unicorn Hat by Brittany Tyler for the kid, and I'm going slooowww  on the horn. I couldnt decide what I wanted for the mane and horn, should it all be the same colours? should the horn match the hat? I'm making the horn in a lovely purple shade, but I'm not sure what to pair it with in the mane. It is to be a gift for the hellspawn for finishing her state tests, she practiced her butt  off in school and at home for them. Hoping she did well, but either way she deserves to know that I'm proud she did her best. And Ive realized I've never knitted her something. I've made things and ended up giving them to her, but nothing specifically for her that ended up being given to her. I'm also planning on using some stash to make Tit Bits by Beryl Tsang. I'm hoping I can donate them locally. Also in the works is the Tilting Tardis Cowl by Marilyn Phillippi (you need a ravelry account to download it, totally worth it if you havent signed up yet). I'm not a Dr watcher, never seen an episode. But I like the look of it and it would make my friends day to have one of those show up in the mail. And that doesnt include the dozens of pick up projects that will be planned and dropped and possibly picked up and actually made. Spring is here and with warmer weather coming, it means smaller projects and camp chair knitting in the breeze. Also, I'm on Instagram! I know, I'm disgusted with myself, but there are lots of others posting their yarns, knits, and crochets on there too. You can follow me under the name priestessraven and I post weird stuff I find amusing too. I'll post pics of my completed works too :D

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Knit Frustrations

I'm trying to knit my stash, I really am. But I want to make hats and guess what? My size 10 dpns are MIA. No trace, not on any project, not hiding in any project bag, not even stuffed in a pattern sleeve for travel. Gone. And of COURSE every pattern I want to flipping make uses size 10 dpns!!! Bah..

Anyhoo, I'm kind of adrift in the project world because of this, and reading is getting dull because my hands have nothing to do. (I'm weird, can't be helped). So what have I been working on? Arm warmers. I picked up two balls of Lion Brand Amazing because I wanted to try it and got to work. There was a cute pattern on ravelry I liked, but I wasnt about to pay that much for a knitted tube with a button. And in fingering weight yarn, no less, no thanks dear. Matched two balls as well as I could and figured I'd knit til the end for each arm. HOLYCRAPICOLA there is some yardage in those balls. It fits my arm from over the elbow to the knuckles and I still have yarn to go.

crappy in early progress pic

I like it though, means I get warm arms when I'm wearing short sleeves (ya know, when your fav hoodie is in the darn wash and you still havent picked up a spare). Promise to post pics when done, not the "pattern" because a) it was redonkulously simple, just cast on how big around you want it and go and b) this was someone elses idea originally. I won't profit (even if I offer it for free) from someone elses work like that. I'm even filching the idea of button placement, but with a twist. I can't decide between shell buttons and these cute plastic leaf beads so I'm figuring out a way to add both. Again, slight deviation to her work, but will not post how to's.

What else has been going on? Teaching the hellspawn crafy stuffs. Picked up a loom kit at Wally World, all of them have stupid polyester loops though. What happened to the cotton ones you could actually use? But they make nifty coasters in a house that eats coasters.

Urchin in progress, on a pile of blankets she stole and refuses to relinquish 

She enjoyed it, and it's something she can do to occupy herself. I finish it off because I don't want her disappointed and defeated by something as simple as loops. Once she gets the hang of this (more so than now, theres always a few mistakes to fix), I'll show her how to bind off.

le finished object

She's finished two of these now, kit makes four. Once we nab a refill, I'm making some of these myself. I miss doing stuff like this during summer day camp. Boondoggle was another, plastic lanyard might have to make a resurgence. 

My house has been invaded by a mystery yarn. Picked up a mini weaving loom kit (came with the usual acrylic assortment) hoping to replace the shuttle for my other. Of course it was broken, but I salvaged the yarn from it. I won't turn my nose up at Red Heart, it has it's place in my stash same as the alpaca. I found a bunch of pink fluff..

Of course, nothing in there had a darn label. Not even one stuffed inside the ball, not a scrap for a hint of what it might be. And a rav search came up with nada. It's a sparse eyelash with glitter through it, about as soft as most of that glitter riddled stuff is. And I have no idea what to do with it all. One or two balls, a scarf and a hat trim for a kid. But eight? I might have to outfit a doll house in pink everything. There were two or three balls of Patons Cha Cha, but that is at least soft and wearable. Any suggestions for this pink abomination?