Easy Dishcloth Side Project

dishclothI have another job interview this week.  On one hand this is exciting because I continue to have opportunities and am always inching closer to an actual career type job.  Yay!

On the other hand, it means that I get stressed out and have a hard time focusing on things, including current crafting projects.  My job search since I graduated as been brutal and full of quite a bit of failure, which is fine.  Your life is better for failing, but it’s really time for me to find a job that will let me sustain myself independently so some of the stress comes from feeling that the stakes are so high.  However, this position is similar to what I already do, and I am very confident about what I can offer, now I just want to go and get it over with and move on.  Whew.

Personal information aside, since when I am stressed I have a harder time concentrating on projects, I decided just to start new, small projects to occupy my hands and mind while I wait.

These dishcloths are super easy.  All you have to know how to do is knit and yarn over.  You knit them from corner to corner, so you can decide how big your dishcloth will be as you go if you want.  I have a bunch of Comfy fingering weight yarn from Knit Picks leftover from a different project.  I originally bought this for a sweater pattern and then decided I didn’t like this particular yarn for the project.

Enter dishcloth stash busting project!  Since mine is fingering weight yarn, I just tripled up the skeins to get closer to a DK/Worsted weight yarn.  You just have to make sure you are getting through all the loops when you pull your stitches off of the needle.  The yarn is very soft and since it is acrylic and cotton blended together, it will be durable and good for light cleaning, or bathroom use.

The pattern is pretty simple and you can find multiple free versions on Ravelry.  In this case I cast on 4 sts and knit back to the beginning, then increased each row by K2, yo, knit to end of row until I got to the length I wanted.  In my case, I increased up to about 50 sts, and then began decreasing.  To decrease: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, knit to end of the row.  This is what gives the dishcloths the pretty almost raised looking border.

The one in the middle was made by using two strands of purple and one strand of ivory while knitting so in a way you can make your own multi-type yarn.

Anyway, since I will be traveling for the next couple of days I wanted to get a post out.

Happy Knitting!

Flying Geese Redux

Now that I have a sewing machine I am tackling my first quilt using up all the scrap fabric we have lying around the house.

I like Flying Geese squares because I am a fan of geometric shapes and patterns, but I wanted to mix it up somehow.  When I was searching the internet I found that there are variations on the traditional flying geese pattern (Flying Dutchman Squares are one..at least I think that is what the pattern is called).  I stumbled onto a block called Circle of Geese but instead of making it as the pattern shows, I am just making individual quarters of a block.  These two although still not perfect are my best blocks to date:

flying geese

These are made using paper piecing which I thought would be really finicky before watching some tutorials of it.  Now after making four blocks (unfortunately the first two aren’t usable) I am getting the hang of it.  The hardest part really is just having enough fabric to cover your seam allowance and then the section of the block they are supposed to cover.  (And then not ripping up your blocks when you take the paper off).

My plan for these types of blocks is to use neutral colors with pops of color for the geese triangles.  I have another paper piecing pattern that I am trying to figure out how I want to use (if at all) and finally, I am going to be doing some traditional flying geese strips.  The traditional strips I am planning to do patchwork style.  Hopefully I can put them all together in a way that actually looks good.  It’s my first quilt and while I can handle little boo boos I want it to look nice and last a long time.  Basically I want to make a slightly more interesting version of a patchwork quilt.  The only fabric I have bought for this project so far is some more neutral prints for the backgrounds.

My Favorite Things: September

fair_isle_tube_scarf-592_medium2

I have made some sloooooow progress on this scarf, but that’s okay because it’s more of a side project/I’m bored and don’t feel like starting anything new or working on anything already started kind of project. This section of the scarf comes from this pattern: Pine Bough Cowl.

pine bough cowl motif

The pattern has 2 charts that run in two different directions.  Each chart is broken into 3 sub sections that you knit a certain amount of times.  I completed all of the repeats of each subsection for Chart A.  Or at least I did most of them…I kind of got bored of knitting the motif so no promises that I actually finished all of it.   I was tempted to buy this sampler from KnitPicks of their Palette yarn so I had more color options for my scarf, until I realized they were full skeins…and the whole thing cost like $400.  Even if I had that kind of money I don’t really need that much yarn and for the next couple of months my mantra needs to be “though shalt not buy any more yarn.” (Cue hysterical laughter)

I am still enjoying this project despite my lack of color options, and I am so excited to share with you my favorite motif yet.

Purl Soho’s City Gym Shorts

Shorts_HT_edited14

Image belongs to purlbee.com and Purl Soho. The idea that I could make something that looks this good makes me laugh hysterically to myself.

I love Purl Soho’s blog.  Nothing has ever depressed me more then when I realized that during my internship I was a freaking block away from this store.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I walked past it on more than one occasion.  Not that I would have been able to afford anything in there when I was living in New York.

Anyway when I saw the City Gym Shorts pattern I knew it would be a great project to relearn some of my sewing skills and break in my mom’s old machine.  I was just thinking as I finished these up how boxer/shorts were my final home ec project in high school.  There is a reason these are a relatively great beginner project though, because they are pretty easy.  Admittedly these shorts are a bit more sophisticated than the boxers I made in 9th grade.

I think what I like the most about these shorts is the bias tape edging that runs around the outer edges of the shorts.  To me this detail is what gives them a nice finished look and makes them look less home made.  Not that I care that much because I will probably wear them for pjs.

I have never made bias tape before so it was an interesting technique to learn.  If I ever take up quilting I am set.  In the original samples they used a lot of Liberty London fabrics which are ridiculously expensive, so I ended up just using a cheaper knit fabric.  ($16 for a 1/2 yard vs. $5 for a 1/2 yard, take your pick.)  If you want to make them any good cotton print will work.

ShortsI learned a lot just working on these.  To begin with I screwed up running my bias tape strip through the bias tape maker for the second side which meant that the seaming showed where you didn’t want to show it.  Bummer, but I wasn’t about to redo it.  The same goes for the waistband.  I may have grabbed the strip that was a little too short, also I wish I had just attached it like I was originally going to, basically the same way I attached the bias tape to the edges.  I was going to essentially just sandwich the raw edge with the waistband and only sew around them once, but I followed the instructions and I don’t really like how it turned out.  For one thing, it didn’t leave me enough space for the elastic, so even though I trimmed my elastic down, it’s still pretty curled in the waistband.  *sigh*.  However, I also realized that I rush things sometimes too.  I get obsessive about finishing things that sometimes I move too quickly and get sloppy.  I need to learn to take my time so that when I move on to dresses I hopefully won’t have to rip out too much.

Believe it or not I am pretty happy with how these turned out even though they aren’t perfect.  I think they look really nice and the knit fabric I paired with the chambray back means I am going to be very comfy in them.  I’m looking forward to making my second pair.

Someday I plan on learning how to draft patterns so that I can finally have pants that fit.

Ten Stitch Blaket

Remember my Hue Shift Afghan?

Remember how I had to buy extra yarn because I ended up knitting it on needles slightly bigger than the pattern called for because honestly it couldn’t make that much of a difference right? Well, that yarn has been lazing around my house taking up space so I needed to find an excellent stash busting project.

Enter the Ten Stitch Blanket.

Ten Stitch Blanket

I used this pattern.  Although honestly the pattern confused me so I ended up looking for a tutorial and found one on youtube:

The video is kind of long so you may have to skip through parts of it, but being a somewhat visual learner I found it very helpful, especially for getting the blanket started.

This is a great beginner knit project because the whole thing is knit in garter stitch.  The mitered corners could be tricky for a beginner, but they are also a great way to learn short rows/wrap and turns which show up in socks a lot.  Add in the fact that this is a great way to use up leftover yarn lying around and I’d say we have a winner.  I like how mine turned out, but I was lucky in that the colors were already picked to go together.  Some of these can end up very….interesting looking.  Mine turned out a great size and I’m looking forward to snuggling under it during the upcoming winter.

It was interesting because in the beginning (since you start in the center of the blanket) I really felt like the project was going fast, but then as the afghan grows and the corners (which are the only interesting part as far as knitting technique is concerned) got farther and farther apart, I found that I had to push myself to finish it.  It would be interesting to knit one of these over a long period of time I think, only adding to it when you have scraps.

*cough hack cough*

Hmmmm.  So I maybe disappeared for a lot longer than I anticipated.

Long story short, after I went on a trip to Korea I came back all gung ho about finding a full time job.  Needless to say I spent a very long anxiety ridden month in a half where I had a bajillion interviews and am still stuck where I started.  T____T  I mean, I am okay.  Being stuck where I started is not the end of me, but it was kind of disappointing.  Okay, okay a lot disappointing.  I may have even cried…more than once.  However, I am now more confident in my skill set and what I have to offer an employer and I have a much more concrete plan of my future, which is nice after being directionless for so long.  I also know that even though I am desperate for a job I am not willing to take a low salary just to say I have one.  (If you can’t tell I actually did receive an offer, but given the fact that I would have to move, and what they wanted to pay me was barely more than I currently make part-time, I didn’t consider it a wise move for my future.)  Even though this summer has been full of a lot of painful learning experience, it’s all part of life, and I am better off for it.

Regardless, I am back, and I’m also pleased to announce that since my mother decided to by herself a super fancy-pants sewing machine, I have inherited her old one, so you can expect to see some sewing projects creep on her to.  In the meantime, have some pictures.

 

COMING SOON:

Bee Chart

It is interesting to me what I love now versus when I was a kid.  Case in point: bees.  To start with, I am pretty allergic to bees.  The first time I was stung by one was when I was very, very young.  I might not have even been in kindergarten yet, so around 4 or 5 years old.  My neighbors had two children around our age, a boy and a girl.  That day the young boy was out playing with two of his cousins slightly younger than us also boys.  They decided it would be fun to start banging on the tie wall underneath their porch, which a hive of bees used as a nest.

Somehow a bee flew angrily from about 20 feet away down the hill to our backyard where I was sitting on our swing set.  I think I had just decided to go inside for the afternoon when WHAM.  Something hit me in the face.  I don’t actually remember getting stung.  I’m sure my mom will always remember the way I screamed (basically the only way a small child can scream when in some serious pain).  It turns out that while I am not deathly allergic to bees, I do have a pretty severe reaction to their venom.  Wherever I am stung will swell up painfully and remain swollen for several days.  I once got stung on my hand and couldn’t move any part of it for almost a week.  Needless to say the first time will always stick with me though.  I got stung right next to my eye, and had it been any closer I may have had some serious damage done to my vision.  I think I had to wear an eye patch for awhile.  Needless to say I spent a large portion of my child hood petrified of bees.

However, as I’ve gotten older, I definitely appreciate nature and ecosystems more than I did before.  I believe in protecting systems that work together in harmony.  Yes bees may sting you, but without them, we’d have to do a lot more work to grow our food.  I even have a dream someday of having a hive.  Though I would probably never actually be brave enough to get honey out them.  Someone else can do that.  So once again I put on my creative cap and decided I wanted a chart for my My Favorite Things scarf of a bee motif.

Bee Chart

I think this is another one that I modified off another image.  I also use different colors just to better see how parts of a motif go together.  One thing I am trying to figure out how to do create pattern repeats, or make it so that I can do more than just a single row of a motif.  I don’t want them stacked on top of each other, I want them offset, so you sort of see how I did that here.  And yes, I am still having a ton of fun making charts.  I am even going to get a little quad ruled Moelskine notebook so that I can draw some of these by hand someday.

 

Happy Knitting!