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December 27, 2012

Life Update

As you know, I haven't been as punctual with my posting times.

I feel like I should explain.

Life's been hectic over here in Corning, being a stay at home nurse for my mom.  I've been pretty busy with that, and we've been getting the Christmas gifts ready for my sister and her kids.  Then we've had appointments for my mom, and all the while I've been looking for a job.

I haven't had much time to knit or crochet except for the two projects I've mentioned: the stocking, and the tree topper.

I have big plans starting next month, for the new year.  And I plan to stick with them!

So stay tuned for future posts :)

December 25, 2012

Finished Project: Tree Topper

Merry Christmas!

I finished my tree topper project just in time.  I wasn't able to take pictures with my normal camera, all I had was my phone, so they aren't the best pictures, but here's what my tree topper looks like!
  

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out :).  It actually turned out better than I thought it would!  My mom wants me to make another one, so that when I move out, she has one.  It was nice to hear that she liked my topper that much :).

December 20, 2012

Applique Christmas Stocking

Remember my blank Christmas stocking? I asked for suggestions on?

Well, no suggestions, but I ended up crocheting snowflakes and sewing them on.


I'm debating whether or not I want to sew my name on it...it took all of my patience to sew on the snowflakes!  Plus, I've never embroidered letters before, and I want it to look nice....

Yeah, it's an inner battle.

December 14, 2012

Do Mug Cozies Really Work?

It's a simple question, do crocheted and/or knitted mug cozies even work?

I certainly wanted to know.  So I made a little experiment.  Taking the same mug, I filled it once with boiling water without the cozy, and once with, and measured the temperature of the water every ten minutes for an hour and twenty minutes.

The results?

The temperature of the water for the mug without the cozy was 85º F.
The temperature of the water for the mug with the cozy was 100º F.


So, do mug cozies really work?
I say, yes.

December 11, 2012

The Affects of Being Left Handed-Part 2

Part 1 of left handed stitching talked about the "mirror image affect."

I want to take that further, and talk about the "reverse spiral affect":


When a lefty works in the round, they work clockwise.

When a righty works in the round, they work counterclockwise.

If all you have is a chart to follow, you have to keep this in mind.  I was working on the triangle motifs for my Christmas Tree Topper and because the written directions were written so poorly, all I had was the chart.  Sometimes, I'd lose my place in the chart, because I naturally wanted to read it clockwise (in the opposite direction I was supposed to).

Solution?
Draw on the chart to remind you which direction to read it.

After I did that, I had no problem at all.

December 6, 2012

December 4, 2012

Operation Christmas Tree Angel-Part 2

Here's where I'm at on the tree topper project!

The ends haven't been woven in yet, and I'm debating whether or not to add more red to the dress, but that's where I am so far.

I'm liking how its turning out.  Now I just need to get the wings, arms, face, hair, etc.

Lots to do!

November 29, 2012

Blank Canvas Stocking

I've outgrown my childhood Christmas stocking, with its giganto picture of Santa on the front...

I want to knit or crochet one, but I just can't decide on what I want to do.

I bought a pre-made one, thinking maybe I could embroider something on it...but I don't know what.

I'm open to suggestions, even if it's knit or crochet one from scratch.

So, please leave a comment if you have an idea.

I would very much appreciate it. :)

November 27, 2012

Green Fuzzy Flipper Slippers

Okay, I have about 4 pairs of slippers, and each pair has its own category, from warm weather, to cold weather, and sleeping slippers.

Now, as I've said before, my mom is a dialysis patient, and because of that it can get pretty warm in the house.  So, instead of having sweaty feet in my slippers, I made those fun fur flip flops you see on the free patterns in yarn aisles of stores.


I used a flip flop that had a textured insole, so it messages my feet, and the fun fur gives me the "fuzzy slipper" feel, while they don't overheat.

November 22, 2012

The Free Yarn Bobbin

Don't buy a yarn bobbin, if you just want to tidy up a long tail of yarn, keeping it out of the way while you knit or crochet.


Use that left over bread bag clip! It's free!

November 20, 2012

Quick Tips: Holding the Yarn

When I'm knitting or crocheting, I hold the yarn two different ways, depending on the yarn.

If the yarn is bulky, or rough, I hold the yarn like this:

It minimizes resistance on your fingers by going through less fingers.  These yarns are resistant in nature, and you want the yarn to glide through your fingers, not rub on your fingers.

If the yarn is slick, small, or silky, I hold the yarn like this:

It increases the resistance of the yarn, yet it still lets it glide through your fingers enough to minimize yarn burn.

November 15, 2012

Journey Game Doll Giveaway

The first person to email me at antsfibers@gmail.com with the subject, "Journey Doll Giveaway" and in the body of the email, tell me

  1. If you crochet, knit, or even sew
  2. What you'd like to see more of in my blog.
  3. How you found my blog.

I will give you one of the Journey™ dolls I made.  Your choice of white or red.

November 13, 2012

Operation Christmas Tree Angel

Growing up, my family had an angel Christmas tree topper that somehow disappeared.  We really liked it, an all fabric angel topper, that was cute but not overly so.  And we haven't had that topper for a few years now, and having nothing on the tree top is just strange.

So I decided to make one, this year.

And Step 1 of Designing a Pattern is make a sketch, so that's the stage I'm in now.


Like most of my patterns, it'll be both knit and crochet.

Knit solid stockinette stitch hugging the cone, then a crocheted lace to go over that.  Crocheted wings.  And I'm undecided about the hair right now.

I've been knitting the bottom of the dress, and it's been taking a long time.

November 8, 2012

Knitted Watch Band: Update

Okay, remember the knitted watchband I made?

After wearing it for awhile, the weight of the watch would constantly tug on the band, shifting the face of the watch to the inside of my wrist.

So, I don't recommend that pattern, unless you sew a piece of elastic in the inside, then sew the watch face to the elastic.

I was too lazy to knit that band all over again (since it took me a week to do), so I just took my Mass Effect Wristband pattern, scratched the Fair Isle chart, made it a made it a custom fit for my wrist (see the first formula) then sewed the band on a piece of elastic, then the watch to the elastic.  Instead of a week of knitting, I was able to do this in a day.

Go Go Gadget Watch!

So far, it's working well.  I haven't come across the same problem.

November 6, 2012

Crochet for Election Day

Well, today is Election Day!  So I whipped up this little flag in honor of today:

Don't forget to vote!

If you like it, here's the pattern:

Materials:
*Crochet Hook: Size I (5.50 mm) or the proper size to obtain the gauge
*Worsted Weight Yarn in Red, White, and Blue (used in the pattern is:)
  • Vanna's Choice Cranberry
  • Vanna's Choice White
  • Vanna's Choice Colonial Blue
*Yarn Needle

Gauge: 14sts of sc /3" and 15 rows of sc/3"

Pattern:
Ch 21 with the red yarn.
1) sc in the 2nd ch from the hook and in each ch to the end (20 sts) fasten off. Do not turn.

Follow the chart below (each square is a single crochet st):
The first row (the bottom/red row) is already complete, so you'll be on the second row (the white row).

The entire piece is done with the right side facing you, fastening off at the end of each row.

Therefore, lefties follow the chart left to right for each row, and righties follow the chart right to left for each row.

Don't forget to ch 1 when you start the the row.

After you're done with the chart, weave in all of the ends.


Your piece should now look like:


Now, embroider the star in the blue square to complete the flag.


November 1, 2012

Till Tuesday

No post today.

I have been feeling under the weather for about a week, and so I haven't been able to work on my posts.

I have the posts planned out, so come back next post day (Tuesday, 8 am). You won't be disappointed!

:)

October 30, 2012

Problem Solving With Yarn: Knitted Watch Band

Problem: You have a tiny tiny wrist, so the only watches that fit your wrist are those velcro ones.  The watch you have is falling apart, and you'd like to replace it, but with something that looks nicer than a velcro band.

Solution: Knit the band, and stick the watch face on it.

I found a watch band pattern years and years and years ago on Knitty, and always wanted to try it out because I have the problem listed above.

So, I finally took the time to make the pattern, and this is what my watch now looks like:


I like the looks of it.  I also like the option that I can swap out the bands according to season, mood, outfit, etc.  But for now, it is just a gray band.

I don't know if I'll actually make more, but I like the idea that I have the option to swap out the band.  I am saying goodbye to those darn velcro bands!

October 25, 2012

Learn to do Bavarian Crochet--Book Review

Have you seen this book, Learn to do Bavarian Crochet by Jenny King.  I went to a local craft store, and they were having a sale on knitting and crochet books at 40% off.  So, I went through EVERY knitting a crochet book, and found this little, teeny weeny, 47 page book.

"Bavarian crochet?" I thought.  "What's that?"

I looked through the book, and thought this was the coolest thing ever.

This book is set up similarly to my own tutorials with step by step instructions that includes pictures.  I found the instructions quite clear, and easy to follow.

I made the basket pattern from page 38.



If you're interested in this technique, I would recommend this book.  Because the instructions of the stitches show pictures on how it's supposed to look, you can see if you're doing the stitch right, instead of hope.

So check it out.  Though the stitch looks hard, it's actually quite easy.  If you're just a beginner, you can do this stitch too.  Don't be scared, go on and try it!

October 23, 2012

Knit Your Halloween Costume!

Quick!  Halloween's next week, and you don't have a costume?  You want to make it, but you don't have a huge chunk of time?

A few years ago, I wound up in this scenario.  I wanted to dress up for Halloween, but didn't want my costume to be in your face as if to say, "LOOK AT ME!  I'M IN A COSTUME!"

So, here's what I did:

1) found a basic knit beanie pattern

2) added text across the front via fair isle.

The text I put said "Skynet Team" Okay...so the text shows my age...I grew up watching the Terminator movies, and the hat was referencing the Skynet AI from the franchise.


I bought a matching shirt, and said I was on the "Skynet development team."

You can put whatever you want as the text, this is just one option of many.  My nerd friends out there liked it :).

October 18, 2012

Crochet--The 1st Row

Sometimes, it's confusing on where to insert the hook for that first row.

Here's my tip: when you count your chains, count the top loop.  So when you insert the hook, insert it in the top loop.  I tried helping a woman with this the other day, and I forgot to tell her this.  I was telling her to insert the hook in the top, and she was inserting the hook in the bottom...so our counts were off.  I felt awful because I realized this too late.

So I'm posting this, in case she sees this, or if there are other people who have this problem.

The left column of pictures is for lefties, and the right column is for righties.

For my sample, I just did a basic single crochet row.

Step 1) make the amount of stitches you want, plus one.  I want 10 stitches, but you need one more (for single crochet) so that the first stitch is at the proper height.


Step 2) insert the hook in the 2nd chain and single crochet.  Remember, you're counting the top loop only.



Step 3) Insert hook in the next chain for your next stitch. If you're having trouble seeing exactly where the next chain is, look at the stitch you just made, the stitch you just made will be wrapped around the loop of the chain.  For a single crochet, I think they look like little legs of the stitch.  Click the photo to enlarge it and get a better look at it.


Step 4) continue step 3 until the end of the row.


Now, say you're working on a shell stitch.  What does that look like?  How do you do that?

You follow the same steps, just count the top loops for your stitches, and insert in the desired stitch.

The basic shell stitch is:
1) chain a multiple of 6 plus 2
2) single crochet in the 2nd chain from the hook
3) skip two chains, 5 double crochets in the next chain (aka, the 3rd chain after the stitch)
4) skip two chains, single crochet in the next chain (aka, 3rd chain after the stitch)

5) repeat step 3

6) repeat step 4

Keep repeating steps 3 and 4 until the end of the row.  End with step 3 (with a single crochet in the last chain).

A row of two shells, looks like this:


October 16, 2012

Knit Until There's a Cure

As you probably know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This is a touchy subject for me.  Touchy in the fact that my aunt on my dad's side of the family...the aunt I was closest to, died from breast cancer.  Plus my namesake died from breast cancer right before I was born.  I wouldn't have the name Nancy, if she survived the cancer.  My first American Sign Language teacher survived breast cancer twice, and my mom's cousin also survived breast cancer.

Breast cancer has made an impact in my life, so I was going to design a pattern and post it for breast cancer awareness month, but I felt that the Tit Bits pattern posted on Knitty did more justice than I could ever do.  Especially the story at the top of the pattern.  If anything, just read the story!

Then after you've seen the pattern, and read the story.  Check out where the pattern originated from, http://www.titbits.ca/

I hope that within my lifetime, we find a cure to breast cancer.  Seeing my aunt go through chemotherapy, and the cancer refusing to regress. Seeing my aunt giving up...it was heart breaking.  I cried.  I cried a lot.  I still get teary eyed thinking about it.

So until we find a cure, we will knit for those who have had mastectomies, to give them a chance have some normalcy in their lives.

October 11, 2012

Crocheted Binding on an Afghan

I posted a tutorial on how to hide yarn floaters with a crocheted binding.  I said that I was in the process of doing this for an afghan I was working on, but it was taking FOREVER because it's over 6 feet long and 5 feet wide.

Well, I finished the binding!

The process was exactly the same as the little sample I made.  After I made the two sides for the border, it looked like this:


Then, just like the sample, I single crocheted the two pieces together:


The finished border then serves two purposes, 1) hides your yarn floaters, and 2) acts as a frame for your afghan.




I'm pleased with how the afghan turned out.  And even though the border took a few weeks to finish, it was worth it.  Now, a year and half of work will be given away...I just hope they like it.