Posts Tagged ‘improvisation’

My Mother-in-Law has an old, battered bookcase which has been holding paint cans in her laundry room for some time now.  It’s a funky-ugly thing which someone obviously tried to ‘art’ up at one point, made of particle board and dotted with black and white spray paint.

She is redecorating her guest room with a flower theme and, being a resourceful and creative woman she has decided to refinish this shelf.  She gave me a chance to help, and the two of us just jumped in and started to do it, with more enthusiasm than forethought (neither one of us has done something like this for a while.

She found a Colorbok garden pattern pack (sorry, the company website is hard to navigate and I couldn’t find a good link there) and we were both so excited by the idea of decoupage that we just jumped in and started.  I know it sounds foolish, but the colors are so fun!

So we jumped in and covered the top and sides with lovely floral images.  We were both very pleased with the results.

Once the first layer of papering was done, we began to discuss what we would do with the inside.  Our first thought was just to continue the decoupage, there was plenty of paper, after all.  BUT…  the bookcase has pegs on the insides to hold shelves.  We’re going to need to paint at least a little bit (because that black and white just won’t work with the floral look she’s going for).  I found some painters tape she had in the basement, and we covered the edges and started on the inside. So far we’ve got a layer of mad swirls in yellow over blueish.  It’s somewhat translucent, so the black and white mottling comes through.  I’m not sure what I think, it might be good, might be bad (the picture didn’t come out, so I can’t ask your opinion).

So here it sits.  We’ve begun discussing what sort of trim to use (we’ve discussed rick rack and ribbon, but I’m beginning to speculate on found objects).  I’d definitely be open to suggestions.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Knitbot Essentials giveaway from Quince and Co, the Hypocrite Sock Yarn giveaway from Lantium ex Machina, Sandra Singh’s Spring Maple Shawl Kit, the Knitting Project of the Day Submission Contest, or the Yarn Madness giveaway.

I’ve entered Mariknits Name This Shrug contest (1 May) – though honestly I think a better one was posted before mine, the April Giveaway from A Year at the Wheel (April 30)

Coming Soon – I’ve got something different planned for my 100th post!

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I celebrated my (mumble-mumble) birthday this past week, and I had a lovely time. I went out to lunch with a friend, dinner with the DH and DDs, was taken drinking with other friends, given a surprise cake at our bi-weekly gaming session, and finally a party with my mom, sister, b-i-l, niece and our own crew. Very lovely! Three (remotely) craft related gifts.

First of all, I bought myself some wool to make Grannie’s Traditional Tea Cozie.  It’s for a Ravelry knit-along.  Then I was given a new mp3 player (so I can catch up on all those knitting podcasts!)  Finally, my sister gave me a beautiful new digital camera.

So now I can show you the Raglan hat I mentioned in the last post:

Felted Raglan

Only the color balance is off, the hat actually looks more like this:

Only that’s still not right. I’ll have to play around with the settings. In any case, I tried to scale up the hat for DH’s monster-sized head, and over did it. So I tried to felt it back, and ended up with the kicky little number I showed you above, instead of the manly cap he asked for.  So now it’s mine, and I’ll have to pick up more yarn for his.

I’ve cast on for the tea cozy I mentioned above.  The picture is a little strange – every time I laid the piece  out it became a target for my cat, Comet.  I tried discouraging him in several ways, but the one which worked best was to put it on top of Captain, the other cat.  This meant I had to work fast, and get all the pictures taken before Captain became too interested himself… In any case, the colors are a little better in this shot, and I didn’t play with any of the settings, so I’m a little confused.

I did not win any of the blog giveaways I entered last month.  But never fear!  There are plenty more.

Vegan Craftastic has a pattern giveaway from Ohdessa Knits.  There’s also a nice giveaway at Copperends, but I could not get the Captcha to work , so I’m out of that one, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t check it out.

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So, now that I’ve mentioned Cast-On withdrawel, Brenda has uploaded another episode.  Cool how that works, huh?

I’ve been procrastinating all morning (and babying myself after a migraine attack yesterday).  Haven’t done anything more useful than playing chauffer to DD#1.    Been working myself up to cast on Calla, a beautiful tank top from the late, lamented MagKnits which I found on Ravelry.    There are some great pics of it on the Same Knit Different Day blog.  It’s been a while since I’ve had two projects going at once, but Haruni’s tiny lace stitches seem like a huge challenge while I’m still headache fogged.  😦

Waffling about casting on yet, I’m still thinking through the mods I want to make.    Do I really want all those rows of eyelets, or should I turn some to twists or cable braids?   I’m pretty sure I want the back plainer than the front, but not sure how much plainer.  I won’t even worry about the neckline/straps until I get close to them, but the basic cable pattern I should plan out before starting.

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The cleo clutch has made me realize a simple truth.  I don’t hold myself to the same standard when I’m working on a project for myself as I do when it’s for someone else.

The more I mess up the cables, the more I knit myself into a corner and have to improvise (by, for example, running out of purple and adding more colors) the more I’m liking this project…  even realizing that, if it comes out right and I get the wallet I’ll be carrying it everywhere with me.   I’m enjoying the heck out of it, errors and all.

Just as long as it felts OK and the size is right, I’ll be happy with it.

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OK, I think i’ve got a handle on it this time.

The thing is, I’m trying to do a non-standard cast-on.   It’s a modified version of Elizabeth Zimmermans (EZs) “invisible cast on” for ribbing,  Zimmerman, for some reason, knit several rows with her waste yarn before switching to the working yarn.  Then she knit several rows of stockinette with the working yarn (how many depended on the weight of the yarn in question) and, while on a reverse side row, alternated between knitting the working stitches with the ‘live’ stitches revealed when she removed the waste yarn.  She alternated between knitting and purling and set up her rib pattern that way.

Use a contrasting waste yarn to make it as easy as humanly possible on yourselfRather than knitting several waste rounds, I started with a crochet cast on, and knit three ‘set up’ rows using the reverse of the knit/purl pattern I would normally use for a set up.

I worked more carefully than I usually do with crochet cast ons.  I made sure to pick up the stitches only through the back loop of the chain, and I marked the ‘end’ of the chain with a knot in the yarn.  Then I oriented my knitting so that it would unravel in the direction of the knitting.  The tail you see at the left of the picture is the end of the knitting round, so it’s the beginning of the chain (the side which wasn’t marked with the knot).  Note the neat and even chain?  That’s your check that you only caught the back loops of the stitches.  It makes the chain much easier to remove… Trust me on this one.

Insert needle in bottom loop just freed from the crochet chain.

Once you’ve got enougth knit, pull the crochet chain  out s-l-o-w-l-y from the knotted end.  As in, one stitch at a time.  Pick up the freed stitch with the right needle, and slip (as if to knit) it onto the left needle.  Then knit (or purl) it together with the stitch next to it.  Since you’re pulling the stitches around towards the front of the needle, the ‘right’ side of the stitches will be on the inside of the closed tube you’re making, which is why you worked the opposing stitch from the one you would need in the set-up row.  If you lifted the stitches to the back, there wouldn’t be any need to reverse stitches.   It sounds easeir, but I found it to be counter-intuitive.

In the end, you have a more or less neat edge, with the ribbing pattern part of the cast on.

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