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I finished another spinning project today:

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The color is a bit darker than it appears on my (admittedly light) moniter. Sort of a brick red, which is why this colorway is called “In the Clay Pits”. I dyed an ounce of roving with one packet of black cherry and one packet of grape kool aide. I was hoping for a darker, purply color, but I shall have to try that again later with some grape.

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I was going to do a two-ply, but the single came out so balanced I just left it as such. I’d say it’s about a fingering/light sport weight with some minor variation. I’m still working on keeping my tension even, but this is certainly a marked improvement. I’m quite happy with it. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s still a little rope-like (I definitely have a problem with over-spinning), but the texture is rather nice nonetheless.

I’m not sure how much I have here though. It’s an ounce, so I would guess there’s around a hundred yards, though I could be mistaken. I think this might make a nice lace cowl though.

In other craft news: I am planning for the Beatles swap and have done most of the inchie backgrounds. I also signed up for another round of Post Secret, so I have to make those secrets. The shorts from last post are almost done, and the scarf I mentioned will just have to wait. Stay tuned!

So I joined another swap, even though I said I wouldn’t. This was a small one: we just had to craft two bookmarks based on the themes our partner gave us. My partner was beeker and she made me some awesome bookmarks:

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My themes were knitting, art deco, dinos/animals, and Star Wars/space. The first two were for me, but I aimed the second two at my lovely boyfriend. It was a quick, easy swap and I figured I only read one book at a time so I only need one bookmark (and I have two), and he reads about as voraciously as I do. : ) So the dino one is for him (I told this to my partner, btw, so no surprise handing off of crafty goodness).

Here are the ones I made for her (her themes were Beatles, red, pink, and leaves):

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I loooove the red one, and I’m not quite as happy with the Beatles one. But I still like it and I am quite pleased with the dictionary definition of love bit. I shall definitely be making more thread crochet bookmarks as it was quite easy and I scored a bunch of crochet thread at the thrift store. Random stuff at this particular store (Goodwill Outlet) is something like 59 cents a pound and my total (which included a somewhat heavy roll of contact paper/stickable vinyl) was only 74 cents. SCORE! Anyway, the bookmark took literally about 20 minutes to make and they’ll be perfect for Christmas presents for some of the readers in my group of friends. Oh, and to stiffen it, I just dunked it in a glue/water bath, pinned it out, and let it dry. : )

The rest of the gallery is here if you want to check out the rest of the swap.

At long last, the items for the Craft my Wish Swap on Craftster have been sent and received by the intended parties, and I have finally received my final package from sg1psychopath, which came all the way from Great Britain and somehow managed to do that is less time than it took for Nikimac’s package to get from Virginia to Washington. *shrug*

Anyway, here’s what I got from sg1psychopath:

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Sweet buttons (the red ones will probably go on my version of Lilith, which I think I’m just going to design myself), a phone holder, which I will make an honest effort to use, a bookmark, a little box with shells (which she didn’t make but had around) and a pillow cover, which doesn’t have a pillow in because she (understandably) wanted to save on shipping, and one of these days, I’ll just haul my ass to Michael’s to get my own pillow form.

And here is what I made for my partners:

For Nikimac:

A little itsy-bitsy sweater for her baby due in July:

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I’m so excited I got to make this. : ) I used Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, US 10/6mm needles and the 5 Hour Baby Boy Sweater pattern. It’s so tiny and so cute! Now I want to make a ton of baby sweaters. : )

Also, this little earflap hat for her two-year-old son:

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I freehanded the pattern top-down using US 7/4.5mm dpns, red Ella Rae Class wool, and blue Lion Wool. The earflaps were picked up after casting off, and there’s a border of single crochet around everything. I love this hat too because it’s cute and tiny.

And also this kickass apron:

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Oh my God… This apron. It is my opus. Okay, not really. But it WAS extremely frustrating and turned out extremely AWESOME. I am kind of sad I don’t cook and therefore have absolutely NO use for any such thing because I really love it. Niki really loves it though, so that’s good. : )

I was going for a retro sort of look, and I think I got it. I found the fabric at Walmart on the day before send out (yep, I did this all the night before, as I do everything) for $1.50 a yard and bought a yard. And I used every inch. The white bits are pieces from various t-shirt scraps. The ruffle at the bottom was extremely frustrating and I did not enjoy sewing it on and poor Mary, my sewing machine, did not enjoy sewing it on either. She does not like knit fabric. Nor did she like this this, seersucker-ish fabric that the main bit of the apron is made of. But she pulled through like a champ, and it looks awesome. I am SO SO proud of this thing.

For JanelleJ:

Amigurumi Fruits and Veggies:

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With faces! Cute. Had to put these off til the last minute because I lack food-colored yarn at school. Fail. I actually intended to make many more of these than I actually did, but I ran out of time and also desire. And food colored yarn. So I have a pear, a lemon (which I made up and did NOT use a pattern for, even though there’s one on Ravelry), and an orange which actually looks more like a peach and I guess it doesn’t matter which. Pretty basic patterns.

A stuffed elephant:

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I improvised this design using Vanna’s Choice, left over from Talia way back. It’s based on the crochet elephants I used to make, and I definitely like the knit design much better. Mostly because I prefer knitting and find it’s much faster and much less annoying. *shrug* I think this little guy came out looking pretty cute though. : )

Headbands for her two-month-old:

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Basically some elastic and some fabric scraps. These were definitely a last minute decision, and I, of course, made them Thursday night. I like how them came out though. They were very simple, and I would definitely make them again given an occasion.

Decorated Notebooks:

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The smaller one I got in a previous swap but knew I would never use, so I slapped on a carrot (one of her desire themes/motifs) and called it a day. The other one I am MUCH more fond of, but I went through a couple different octopuses before settling on that one. I think that one is adorable though. The paper inside of it is the innards from a small notebook that was missing a cover. So I glued some black construction paper to the spine, slapped on an octopus, and called it a day.

And because I didn’t make anything large like the apron I made for Nikimac, I also threw in two skeins of Bernat Matrix and two spools of ribbon. You don’t need pictures of those.

I’ll be honest. I picked the Matrix because I wanted it out of the stash. I have no regrets.

So yesterday, as a lovely end to a fairly crappy day, I received one of two packages for the Craft my Wish swap on Craftster. This was something of a nontraditional swap in that the people/person you craft for are/is not the people/person you receive from. I’ll show you what I sent off in a later post, but here I’ll show you what I got from Craftster user zcrafter:

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A holder for my circular needles, a drawstring bag, and a vintage knitting magazine full of sweaters. I haven’t really flipped through the magazine yet, but I’m thinking it will be interesting and maybe have some cute vintage-y patterns. : )

So I’m officially home for the summer, which is less than great, but it does mean I have lots of time for knitting and blocking and sewing and other such crafting. Which means I’ve finally had time to finish and block and photograph the Superman sweater. And I looove it.

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Specs:

Pattern: Button Me Up by Lauren Chau (I really like her patterns, actually).
Needles: US 8/5 mm
Yarn: About 2.5 skeins of Ella Rae Classic in red and a half a skein of Lion Wool in blue.
Modifications: Pretty much ignored the sleeve instructions and did what I wanted, ignored the striping pattern because a stripe across the boobs looks good on no one. Probably made it longer, cause I do that. Long torso. Made the ribbing shorter. Donโ€™t need five inches of 2×2 rib on my stomach and also I hate knitting ribbing. Also, did the button band different (one button) mostly because I fail at reading directions and did it incorrectly, though I like my mod.

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So, I’m totally in love with this sweater and it’s definitely my favorite sweater that I’ve made to date. It fits wonderfully, it was fun/quick to make, and I love the color scheme. I am a huge fan of this sweater. Unfortunately, it’s made of wool and it’s currently almost May, so that’s a bit of a bummer. It almost definitely won’t be cold enough to actually wear it for a couple of months. :/ Maybe I’ll be able to wear it around the house. My bedroom is a good 10 degrees (at least) colder than the rest of the house, and I actually have a little air conditioner back there. Hmm… I’ll find an occasion to wear it. : )

The yarn is nice, but it’s a little itchy, so I would definitely wear a long sleeved shirt under it. It’s lovely though.

Also, one more picture:

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Meet Elizabeth, the mannequin bust my mother picked up for me in Florida over spring break. The size is off, but since I’ll mostly use it for modeling FO’s (easier to take pictures of it than myself) it’ll be close enough.

Currently on the needles: Various swap things, a string bag (Everlasting Bagstopper, if you’re curious), and fixing to be either a cabled bag (I need to get yarn for it though) or Climbing Vines pullover. I also recently finished a shrug, pictures of which will be up shortly/whenever I get around to it. They’ll probably be on Elizabeth. Cause that is WAY more convenient. : )

I finally received my swap package from Rockmygypsysoul on Crafster, and it is rockin’:

KICKASS tote:
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Sweet coasters:
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Stitch markers:
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She used almost all of my quotes between the bag and the coasters, and the bag has such a great shape. Because I know you can’t read it, the quotes on the bag are:

“The one you love and the one that loves you are never ever the same person.” (Invisible Monsters)
“You know that old saying about how you always hurt the one you love? Well, it goes both ways.” (Fight Club)
“We are not special. We’re not crap or trash either, we just are. We just are, and what happens just happens.” (Fight Club)

And now, here are the things I sent to her:

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Notebook made completely from scratch (recycled cardboard, white paper, decorations from stash). Interestingly (I think anyway) it’s sewn together with dental floss–I wanted something stronger than thread but didn’t want to buy anything new. Stash item ftw.

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A set of notecards made from computer paper and construction paper. The quote on them is “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I will always be with you.” (AA Milne). They were lots of fun to make.

And finally:
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Tote bag made from red houndstooth fabric, a flowery bedsheet (the lining), and felt. I used this awesome-strong fabric glue so I didn’t have to fiddle with sewing on the letters, though I did cut them out free hand. The quote that this goes with is from the West Wing and is something to the effect of, “Victory is mine! Victory is mine! Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land!” The muffin is a t-shirt scrap and a scrap from a thrifted curtain.

Stay tuned for one more swap, which is finishing up soon.

Before I get to the pictures, here’s an update: I have completely finished Hey Teach, buttons and everything. Still need to photograph it (that’ll happen soon), but in the mean time, I have plenty of other things to post over the next week or so. I sent out one of two swap packages and am expecting mine any day now, so look for that post probably Monday.

But as for now: Two things I’ve done recently and (OMG!) how you can get them in your possession.

First: ADCD tote bag!

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Made from an ACDC t-shirt I purchased at Rugged Warehouse and some fabric I purchased at Walmart. It’s 15″ by 15.5″ with a squared bottom and the straps are 16″ tall. It’s totally machine washable and very sturdy. It also has a line of blue topstitching around the top of the bag.

This totebag, perfect for an ACDC fan, is available here on Etsy and here on Artfire.

Item number two: Another dpn/pencil/crochet hook roll.

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This is made from cotton houndstooth fabric and a thrifted Barney bedsheet. It has eight pockets, six of which are an inch across and two of which are two inches across. It ties securely with ties made of t-shirt scraps.

This little organizer would be perfect for dpns, crochet hooks, pens, pencils, paint brushes or colored pencils for yourself or as a girl. It’s available here on Artfire.

Stay tuned for more crafts, including Hey Teach, a hat, and the swap.

Unfortunately, it is still quite cold, both in Virginia Beach, where I live, and in Fredericksburg, where I school. The sun, however, is shining, and I took advantage of it, snapping this lovely wip photo of my cable cardigan:

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But as I’ve said, it’s still cold. I’m home on spring break, but my bedroom, where I spend much of my time, is freezing because the heat doesn’t reach back there. As a result, I had to whip up these:

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I used Caron Felt-It in colorway Evening Mist and 4.5mm dpn’s. I used my basic mitten pattern, but I knit these from the top down to make sure I had enough to finish both mitts (I did, with yarn left over). They came out a little too large and I had to rip back the thumb gusset on the first one a few times before I figured it out, but I like them. They’re soft and squishy.

The yarn is interesting. I have a little left over, and I think I’m going to felt something–probably a little bowl. From what I’ve seen on Ravelry, it felts pretty well, which is to be expected seeing as the yarn is pretty much roving.

One last thing: right before leaving school for break, I whipped up this:

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A holder for my double-pointed needles (and also crochet hooks). I bought some dowels recently to make my own dpns, so once I finish them, I’ll be moving my crochet hooks elsewhere. I still need something for them and also my circular needles (of which I need many more sizes… Especially 6’s and 7’s).

I love mittens. I love making them and having them and wearing them… They can be simple, with a really nice yarn or with a really simple yarn and complex pattern. Fingerless or convertible, red or blue or green or yellow… I love them all. A mitten is the ultimate in small, portable projects. They can be made with almost any weight of yarn and they only take a couple of hours, unlike socks, which have (generally) small gauge and take a fair amount of time. I love mittens. In the last couple of days, I’ve made a couple of pairs:

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(Red Fingerless mitts made with Caron Simply Soft Tweed and a bit of wool from a thrift store sweater to work on stranding for my friend Dalia who requested them.)

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(Grey Vanna’s Choice and a couple of yards of black Caron Simply Soft for a commission knit. : ) Was paid for these ones, which is lovely. Got to feed the stash somehow.)

And my favorite of my recently completed mittens:

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Owls! Or more specifically, Give a Hoot. I modified the pattern a bit, essentially just using my basic mitten pattern and putting the owl cable bit on the back of them. I also made the purl bits around the owl smaller–a selvage of two rows and stitches instead of four. They’re a little bit snug/short, but that’s not really enough to deter me.

Also, the eyes on these are little silver beads–actual silver. I have a bunch of these little beads and am not entirely sure what to do with them all. Maybe I’ll turn some of them into stitch markers. : )

Currently on the needles, I have the second sleeve of a sweater I’ve recently started. It’s the cabled cardigan from the Fall 2006 issue of Knit Simple, which I bought offline several weeks ago. The Ravelry page for the cardigan is here. I’m using Burgundy Vanna’s Choice and doing the sleeves in the round and the body as one piece to cut down on seaming, which I hate. I’m also working on/starting the Norwegian Star Earflap Hat (Rav link) because A, I love hats for the same reasons I love mittens and B, I want to work on colorwork. I’ve recently done Entrelac (just practice) and I can do cables and lace. It seems colorwork is my next big knitting adventure. : )