Homespun Stripes Afghan

Saturday, October 13, 2012
I've made dozens of afghans and all but two of them have been crocheted. My first knit blanket was the Diagonal Garter Afghan and now this, the Homespun Stripes Afghan.

A long time ago (before my blogging days) I crocheted Sarah an afghan to take when she went to college. I used Lion Brand's Homespun, Montana Sky and most of the skeins had a problem where glue from the wrapper dripped onto the yarn and ruined the last 5-10 yards of each skein. I wrote to Lion Brand to let them know of the issue and received a package of replacement yarn! The yarn stayed in the stash for years until I found this pattern.

It's a quick knit on size 13 needles with only a two row repeat. I like my afghans wider than patterns are generally written so I increased the number of stitches from 135 to 153. However, the afghan is VERY stretchy and I didn't need to increase the width. In fact, the width (58") is bigger than the length (53") so the blanket gets turned around when used. Homespun is a bulky yarn but this afghan is remarkably lightweight and makes a fantastic all purpose throw.

The skill level for this pattern is listed as intermediate but that's just plain silly. It's a simple and easy beginner pattern. The only problem/warning is to be very careful casting off in order to get an edge that's the same tension as the cast on. I used the general cast off but it's tighter than the cast on. To the casual eye, it's not a glaring inconsistency but it could have been executed better.

My family has more blankets than we can use so it will be a while before I do another one but this is a nice addition to the collection!

 Ravelry Project Page - Homespun Stripes Afghan #1

Update 4/27/2015: I made this blanket a second time. This time I cast on the number of stitches called for in the pattern and paid close attention to having a loose cast-on and bind-off. Perfection!

 Ravelry Project Page - Homespun Stripes Afghan #2

The New Adventure of Mini-Me

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Mini-Me makes an appearance in the This Knitted Life video!

Remember Mini-Me? A few years ago I participated in the Stitched Selves exhibit for the London Science Museum. The exhibit was coordinated and produced by the knitting group Stitch London and additional adventures were promised. Last summer the Stitched Selves participated in Stitched Science and this summer they are featured in a video!

The video presents the stages of a knitting project, from "birth" to cast off, with artsy visual blasts of knitted objects and was produced by the Crafts Council to promote knitting.

Mini-Me appears at 5:53 for her two seconds of fame. You can email me for autograph requests ;)

This Knitted Life from Crafts Council on Vimeo.

Valentines 2012

Sunday, September 02, 2012

I love Pinterest. I now have more things to make than I'll ever manage and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I found this Snappy Coin Purse Tutorial by Rashida Coleman-Hale and immediately knew that I wanted to make them for this years valentines.

Fabric Place Basement recently re-opened in Natick so I went to explore and look for heart/valentine fabric. After a couple of hours (the amount of cotton fabric they carry is extensive!) I finally found 4 prints that worked together. VoilĂ ! A darling valentine.

The tutorial was excellent but I do provide one correction. When working Step 7 you should notch the curves not clip them. The Hows and Whys of Clips and Notches are excellently explained at the "Sew, Mama, Sew!" blog.

The best thing about my visit to Fabric Place Basement was finding that they carry great yarn - Cascade and Classic Elite to name just two. I wonder if I should tell my husband that the new store in town stocks both fabric and yarn? Maybe not, he already has too many grey hairs.

A Skein of Silk Garden Sock by Noro

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A while ago, I picked up a skein of Silk Garden Sock (color #268 - Green, Aqua, Brown) by Noro at The Black Sheep Knitting Co. in Needham, Massachusetts. At the time, I was knitting a lot of socks and I bought the yarn with the intention of making a pair from this skein. However, this stuff is pretty scratchy (I suspect it's the 10% mohair!) and I decided that I was never going to wear or gift a pair of socks knit from it. So I went in search of a free one skein pattern and found the Loopy Lace Scarf.

The pattern is a reversible lace honeycomb rib scarf with a keyhole. I'm not sure why this pattern was written with a pull-through on both ends but I worked only the first one and then knit until the scarf's total length was 36". The yarn is too itchy to put against bare skin so I only use it with a turtleneck but at least I can wear it.

There was enough yarn left over to make this cute Pinwheel Purse. It's based on an origami design that opens up when you pull the top apart and then snaps back closed when you let it go. It's a perfect project to carry around because of the small amounts of yarn used. I'm saving it to use as a gift "box" for just the right present or possibly a knitting or craft exchange. I'll be making more of these.

Blue Wrap Project - Earth Day 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Fashion Design and Retailing Program at Framingham State University recently hosted a design competition. The goal was to recycle "Blue Wrap", a highly durable polypropylene fabric used to wrap all medical supplies and instruments. The Blue Wrap was donated by Metro West Medical Center in Framingham.

Faculty, staff, and students were encouraged to design fashion garments and accessories that used Blue Wrap in a creative way. Basic sewing materials were allowed, but were not permitted to exceed 25% of the garment.

Ahhh, so what to do, what to do????

I love bags and purses, so I started my experiments with Blue Wrap by making a simple tote. I embellished it with a fabric yo-yo, a matching button and a tie so that the bag can be carried conveniently.

It turned out to be fairly easy to work with Blue Wrap, so I next designed a zippered makeup bag. Inspired by a dress I had seen at the mall, I put a fabric bow on the outside. I think it works much better on the bag than it did on the dress! The bag measures 6" x 5".

Blue Wrap was easy to manipulate and sew, but wrinkles in the fabric are impossible to remove because the fabric melts when ironed. It occurred to me that I could make yarn from the Blue Wrap in the same way I made "plarn" from plastic grocery bags (see my Plarn Gift Bag post). Blue Wrap came as a tube (two sheets were fused together on opposite edges) and I was able to cut a continuous 1/2" strip to get a nice large ball of "blarn".

After I had the Blue Wrap in yarn form, it was just a matter of playing around with it and knitting needles to see what would develop.

I had a shopping tote and a makeup bag so why not make a purse to put them in? The purse was knit with 54 stitches on size 11 circular needles and measured 10" x 9" (not including handles). The body of the bag was stockinette stitch and the top band was garter stitch. Decorative tabs on the surface of the purse came from the fused ends of the Blue Wrap, which left flaps in the yarn as it was cut. Initially, I was pushing them to the inside, but I liked the texture, so I brought them to the front.

All of the designs were showcased at Framingham State's Earth Day Festival 2012 and will go on a local exhibition tour during the summer. This was a fun design project that had a community feel and a "make it work" attitude that was relevant to an important environmental issue.

Carton Wallet

Sunday, May 06, 2012

It's not knitting, crochet or sewing. Heck, it's not even needlework related! But as I've written before, I'm about making stuff and little crafty things can grab my attention.

When the girls were young I regularly bought the Disney Family Fun magazine because it always has great make-it projects. I still love thumbing through an issue or visiting their web site.

This carton wallet was fun to make, perfect to fill with candy, and ship off to the grandkids. I couldn't resist and enjoyed every minute!

The instructions and template for the carton wallet were perfect and I made two in the suggested time allowance of one hour.

Lace Leaf Infinity Scarf

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The newest fashion trend for a scarf is to make them into an "Infinity" scarf by sewing the ends together to form a circle.   The scarf can then be worn by wrapping it around the neck multiple times or hanging from the neck like a necklace.  From a design perspective it opens up a lot of ideas.  I used a standard leaf lace pattern and just knit!  It was a quick knit, turned out well, and my daughter loves it.

Lace Leaf Infinity Scarf Pattern

Pajama Eaters

Friday, January 20, 2012

These little monsters are a pillow but be careful .....they "eat" pajama's!

I found this pattern a number of months ago over at (it's a good thing I saved it then because now she's charging $10 for it!)

Other than additional reinforcing around the mouth/zipper, the only detail I changed was the feet.   The originally design is darling but when I worked the feet they seemed, to me, big and bulky, so I redesigned them to about 1/2 the size (closer in proportion to the arms)  and reworked the shape of the foot and leg into a circle.

The Pajama Eater starts to take on a personality after the stuffing has been inserted and I recommend deviating from the written instructions and determine the position of the eyes last.

This was a fun diversion from knitting and a cute sewing project for the grand-kids!