univacgrl: (Default)
( Aug. 2nd, 2015 10:34 pm)
I'm not doom-and-gloom all the time. Not every single minute at least. I do sleep sometimes.

I crocheted a baby blanket recently. It was much faster than knitting one. And I barely finished it in time for the baby shower. I was putting a border on it, and it just wasn't looking quite right (not enough color on the edge for the size of the blanket meant it's visually not heavy enough to support the blanket). I had to ask D to tell me it was ok to stop and just call it finished. I had a deep sense of shame about bringing it to the shower, since all I could see were the flaws. At least I'd caught and ripped back to fix any stitch errors I'd made. There were a couple of late nights where I crocheted the same two rows about four times because I'd made an error early in one and didn't find it until the end of the next one. The edging was just too plain compared to the simple one-color shell pattern. Even though I'd followed a pattern, the number of rows made it come out as to rectangle and not a square, which seriously freaked me out. I didn't even notice the shape because I was so focused on finishing the required row-count by the deadline. By the morning of the party I seriously wanted to throw it in a trash bag and run out and buy something really quickly on the way there, but I gritted my teeth, sprayed it with lavender spray, put it in a gift bag and took it with me, with the goal of keeping my mouth shut. (Ok, I did brag a little when the mom-to-be mentioned that the blanket was the only gift in her favorite colors. I'd asked her months ago what colors she might like, in case knitting happened.)

It was kind of torture, watching a nearly endless parade of beautiful, thoughtful (mostly) store-bought gifts: toys, tiny delicate clothes, a variety of diaper creams, and one beautiful hand-made quilt that looked like it should be hanging up in a gallery. And my blanket was one of the few items that was handed around because people wanted to touch it and see it up close. And I gritted my teeth and said as little as possible. Because the voice in my head couldn't shut up about tiny things that no-one else was going to be rude enough to point out, even if they did notice. "It's machine-washable," I said, with what I think must have been one of those pained half smile, half fear expressions on my face.

I made something this evening as well. I've been kind of feeling like my feet are ashy and need some sort of care to make them more presentable (I don't know to whom because I seldom leave the house in anything but sneakers). A few weeks ago a Listerine foot soak was all the rage, so I looked that up to see if I had the ingredients. One page had a Listerine and sugar foot scrub instead, which kind of blew my mind. I'm never ever going to take the time to set up a foot soak for myself, because of the sheer amount of crap I would have to move around, scrub, and then get all messy with the soaking just to have to clean it all again and then put away ... it makes me tired just imagining it. I don't feel like I'm worth that kind of effort. But using a scrub, that can be done in the shower, and I take showers.

The page I looked at had a bunch of sugar scrubs, but I feel guilty about using food in a way that it wouldn't be eaten. But there was a quickie coconut oil and salt recipe which caught my eye. One, salt is a mineral, and super cheap at that, and two, I have coconut oil already purchased specifically for skin purposes (plus some essential oil we keep for soap-making purposes). D had cued me to go make myself some dinner (I'd been watching him play Dragon Age for much of the late afternoon). I got up and pulled nibbles that resemble dinner out of the fridge, and then kept right on going with pulling the scrub ingredients out of the cupboards too.

A half a cup of salt,
some baking soda (because it's a finer grit and people use it for soaking their feet in too, so why not),
three tablespoons of coconut oil,
four drops of peppermint oil.

Stir until thoroughly combined. Place in container. Rub all over your wet feet then rinse thoroughly with water.

After mixing it up I tried it on my hands and it was pretty nice, so I put the lid on and took it upstairs to the shower after showing it to D so he'd know what it was (and more importantly, that he'd know not to throw it out). Then I finished fixing my dinner of carrot chips, roasted unsalted cashews, and the tub of pine nut hummus. There was supposed to be some of the prepared chicken pieces I'd gotten at the weird F&E market, but I'd gotten thoroughly distracted by the scrub making.

So, sometimes I make things, when circumstances align just right. Mostly for other people but sometimes for myself too.
univacgrl: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2013 02:30 pm)
 The idea originally came from http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/yarn-basket-ornament which is adorable, but didn't seem to come out right for me. (The way the pattern seemed to be written would have made the basket far too narrow and deep.)

I looked around for other patterns and found this one: 
http://www.goldenbirdknits.com/2009/02/miniature-knitting-bag_04.html , but it was still too much like a knitting bag and not a basket, per se. I was more into making a tiny knitting basket that was more basket shaped, so I decided to cobble together my own pattern.


Sock yarn, or superfine weight yarn of your choice. Think small.
Size US 3 double-pointed needles for bag, Size 3 crochet hook for handle.
Scrap yarn, smooth chopstick and yarn needle for making tiny skeins.
Two round toothpicks and small beads for making needles (the colored ones are awesome for this).
Craft glue


I stole this part from 

Step 1: Cast on one stitch onto a Double Pointed Needle.

Step 2: K1, P1, K1 in the same stitch.

Step 3: Turn the needle and Purl across the row

Step 4: Turn the needle again, Kfb all stitches.

Step 5: Turn the needle and Purl across the row.

Step 6: Turn the needle, Kfb all stitches.

Divide these stitches onto three double pointed needles. Knit all stitches, joining the round.

Step 7: [Kfb, K1] around.

Step 8: K around.

Step 9: Repeat 7 and 8.

Step 10: [Kfb, K2] around.

Step 11: K around. [I stopped here, but you can choose to make a bigger basket by continuing on from here]

Repeat this process, increasing by one K stitch per set.

Ex) Next round: *Kfb, K3* Repeat

-K around

-*Kfb, K4.* Repeat

-K around

Etc, etc.

[End of pattern theivery] Here's where I started improvising:

Next round: Purl all the way around (this will give the walls of your basket a definite change of direction from the flat, going 90 degrees up from the bottom circle)

Knit 12 or so rounds. Seed stitch will give your basket more structure, but it takes me forever to do seed stitch, so I just knitted every round. Bind off except for the last three stitches. I changed to a size 3 crochet hook at this point and crocheted a three-stitch single crochet handle until it was about 2 1/2 inches long and attached it to the three stitches directly opposite on the brim, sewing it on with the tail of the yarn. This helps keep the brim from rolling down entirely.  Depending on your skills, the bottom of your basket may have a small hole in it. You can thread the tail of yarn through the stitches and draw them tightly together, just like making a magic circle in crochet.

Make tiny skeins of yarn by wrapping around a smooth chopstick (I used one enameled one as a nostepinne), or just make yarn balls. You can use a yarn needle to pull a long end through the center of your mini skeins to keep them from unravelling.. Don't bother with trying to make them too much like a traditional skein of yarn. Make them look more like the Lion Brand ones that are roundish and fatter than the traditional Red Heart ones that are longer and thinner.

Make the knitting needles by gluing beads to the ends of round toothpicks. It's ok if the pointy end of the pick sticks out of the bead, because you can nip the points off with nail clippers. I used a Sharpie marker to color in the bare wood where I'd nipped off the points. I also rubbed the toothpicks on a candle to wax them a bit so they'd slide into the mini-skeins more easily [or because there totally is a hyphen in anal-retentive, I've not entirely made up my mind yet].

Pictures to follow, eventually.

univacgrl: (Default)
( Jan. 27th, 2013 08:33 pm)
My quest to organize the craft room has taken a couple of baby steps.

On New Year's Day D and I ordered four more bookshelves for the office. Somewhat cheapo 5-shelf ones from VoldeMart [*shudder*] but they were what we could afford. They're waiting for us to get rid of a behemoth of a computer desk and hutch that we don't need anymore so we can build them. Dean's gotten a nibble on someone who might be interested in taking it away from us, but nothing more than that.

Last weekend I got a chance to go to Staples to buy a couple more of the large bins I've been getting to put my fabric stash in. I wanted to get two for now, as they're usually $16 each, but they were on sale for $5, so I grabbed all five that were left on the shelf. And I mostly paid for them with the rewards coupons I've been getting from having to buy office supplies for work (that I get reimbursed for, ...eventually), so the cash I took out of my wallet was $1.08. I am the coupon queen.

And this weekend I got email from Simplicity.com telling me they were about to start retiring some patterns, so I started looking at them and picking ones I wanted to go out and buy. (The buying of which will probably involve a trip thirty miles south to the Santa Maria Jo-Ann's, as I don't really want to resort to VoldeMart again and my local small-chain craft store doesn't carry Simplicity patterns anymore.) Then I started wondering which ones I already owned, which started me looking at apps for my iPod Touch that I could use to store the numbers in. I am vaguely embarrassed by the fact that I've bought a few patterns more than once, thinking I didn't already have it.

My research turned up quite a few apps, none of which are free, and most of which wouldn't run on my somewhat antiquated iPod anyway. So Google Docs came to the rescue. I spent most of this weekend entering all the information, including the copyright date, on all the patterns I have (which is enough to fill five of those wonderful cardboard pattern holder boxes, which I also can no longer find at Jo-Ann's for some reason) into a spreadsheet, added images for most of them, and shuffled them all around enough that I'm not sure how useful the pictures will be. But, I have the info in a relatively easily accessible format, and I can somehow download or print it out for the next time I go to a craft store looking for patterns.

Interesting trends in my pattern collection:
  • The word kimono crops up four different times in the pattern descriptions, plus the geisha kimono costume itself, plus the whole book on making Japanese clothing I bought. I really need to make myself a kimono. This. Freaking. Year.

  • I have more Simplicity patterns than I do McCall's, but not many more. Most of the McCall's are hand-me-downs I got from Sherice a long time ago, but I've bought a few since then.

  • I definitely have a bias towards Simplicity patterns. They're the ones I learned on, and they're the ones I understand best.

  • The sole Burda pattern I've purchased is a cape that I made for D for his The Waffler costume (but that I wear to Ren Faire). The free Burdastyle.com printable patterns live on my hard drive. (I downloaded as many as I could before they went to a pay model.)

  • I own a single Vogue pattern, V2859, a bias cut slip gown based off of a 1935 Vintage Vogue design, and it scares the crap out of me. It's pretty close to the exact design I'd been looking for (and the only one like it I've seen that isn't out of print or exorbitantly expensive), but oh my goodness it's daunting. Early on in my sewing career, I was told that Vogue patterns are difficult, which in my brain turned into "Vogue patterns make baby Jesus cry." Because they are not for the faint of heart, nor the inexperienced nor even the semi-experienced.


    univacgrl: (Default)
    Cyrano de Univac


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