Skyline Chilly

Motif of the Week RSS

Things I have cozied:

Mar
10

A lot of inanimate objects tend to develop jackets when there is a knitter around. The most recent victim suspect specimen is the French Press coffee maker in my kitchen, now toastily insulating its content under a shroud of alpaca and Kidsilk Haze:

The French Press Cozy knitting came about because I was committing a major knitter’s faux pas: using my hot water bottle cozy AS a wrapper for the coffee, indicating that there was a dire shortage of appropriate cozies in my household. Thankfully, the hot water bottle is now comfortably back in its own jacket:

This knitting-for-household-items crisis led me to look back at the other inanimate objects I have knitted for. A teapot cozy for a friend of mine, shown here being modeled by a bookend and three rubber stamps, awaiting its journey to its final cozying assignment:

A mug that had a hard time keeping its temperature up in a sometimes-chilly warehouse work environment:

DSC03093

I know there have been at least 2 iphone covers also knitted, but they’re no longer in use and I apparently never got bloggy pictures of them. Apparently the tech gadgets around here are more worried about looking sleek than staying warm- I swear they are going to catch a cold without their sweaters on, but hey- no one every listens to me!

move over, duct tape

Nov
05

My order of sugru arrived earlier in the week, and I had SUCH a good time playing with it last night. Sugru is a DIY silicone that arrives soft and ready to mold like modeling clay, but air dries into a tough, resilient silicone that can permanently enhance or repair the project you use it on. I just love the “hack things better” ideology behind this material’s development and marketing, and I couldn’t wait to get a chance to see what stuff around me could be improved by a little bit of thoughtfully placed putty. ¬†Of course, most of the projects that came to mind were craft-related!

I have this beautiful yarn bowl made by my friend Kirsten of Long Dog Yarns, but the slot in it was pretty wide, so that the fingering- or laceweight yarns I favor would easily escape the orifice when I would pull to draw out more yarn. A little bit of sugru means that the bowl is now more customized for my own yarn tastes and projects… since yarn is squishy and hardened sugru has a little bit of give to it, I’ll still be able to squeeze any yarn through the slot, but now they’ll be a lot more likely to stay in place when I pull, and the yarn will keep feeding nicely out of the hole in the bowl, the way they’re supposed to. I already know I’ll get more use out of my yarn bowl this way, which is part of the point of sugru. Why buy new things when your existing stuff can be made better and more useful?

This second sugru project is another version of the same concept… customizing my crafty tools to make them more useful to me. I totally fell for this Fiskar’s model when I was in the market for a craft knife- it might have been the bright orange color that I love, or just the promise of a more ergonomic knife handle, but I bought the “finger” knife instead of the regular cylinder handled ones. This was kind of one of those better in concept than in practice designs… using the knife on the end of my index finger is great, but the backs of the handle dig uncomfortably into the top of your finger if you have to apply any significant amount of cutting pressure.

Enter sugru! I used the squishy clay to add padding to the parts of the handle that were uncomfortable, and the wide pad of sugru helps distribute the pressure over a larger area, making the strain less acute. The leverage of the knife still requires using pressure on the back of the finger, but now it’s just useful pressure and not two plastic prongs digging unforgivingly into my flesh. This sugru hack is more about quality than quantity in making my stuff better. With the yarn bowl, I know that I’ll use it more often now with the repaired design, but with the knife, I imagine I’ll use it the same amount, for the same craft tasks I used to, but the uses will be much more enjoyable now! Isn’t sugru neat? I’ve already started a list of things to hack next time I open a package… probably more crafty things, knowing me! My spinning wheel is next.

finished fabric

Oct
30

See? I told you I was excited to finish and block this shawl! The real moment of truth is yet to come, when it’s dry and I get to feel how soft, drapey and luxurious the Sundara Silky Merino turns out. But stretching the fabric out to see the design in its entirety is always an exciting moment, too. It’s enough to tide me over until I can try it on and feel the finished fabric, anyway.

The pattern is Verdaia, found only on Ravelry here. The yarn is Sundara Silky Merino (fingering weight version) in Cobalt over Mediterranean. I hadn’t worked with this yarn before, but I will be on the lookout for an opportunity to do so again! It was delightful. The beads in this shawl are my own addition, 6/0 silvered glass applied with the crochet hook method, inspired when I browsed some of the other Verdaia’s on Ravelry. I really liked the ones like this where the beads stood out in high-contrast, so I went looking for a bead choice that would really show up well. I think I definitely achieved that!

I like the idea of adding beads to patterns that don’t ordinarily indicate them (like I did for Ishbel). I’m not sure I have the patience for an entirely beaded piece… sitting with an open container of beads for too long is just asking for spilling trouble in my house! But just a few sections of beads is the right amount of beadwork for me, and some of the popular small-shawl designs seam to lend themselves nicely to beaded highlights. The other thing I like about beading a shawl’s edge is looking forward to it… for neck-down shawls, the end sections can seem to take forever, and having the beads to look forward to helps me get through those long rows.

cobalt over mediterranean

Oct
29

This Verdaia is one of those projects that just knits itself. You know the type… one day it’s just a little triangle on the needles, and overnight it’s apparently become a living, breathing demander of all knitting attention, flying off the needles at breakneck pace with nary a care for keeping you up to late, missing meals or work hours, or anything other than the incessant KNIT ME demand. In short: I’m in love with this shawlette! I tried to blog about it when it looked like this:

But all of a sudden, it looks more like this, just three rows from binding off, blocking, and being done:

I’m hoping to finish it off tonight and block it over the weekend. I just can’t _wait_ to see this beautiful yarn all blocked… it’s the Sundara Silky Merino 50/50 silk/wool blend, and boy do you feel the silk content. It’s really smooth and soft as you knit with it, I think the finished shawl is going to be so special and luxurious feeling. Another thing I love about this fancy yarn is that I won it in a charity raffle! You might remember when I posted to encourage you all the enter the drawing… well I guess that good turn deserved another, and I totally won the most delicious prize box of fantastic yarns. This one is the first to jump on the needles… lucky me!

Sundara Silky Merino Finger in Cobalt over Mediterranean

easy being

Oct
15

It was only a couple of hours after I wrote up my last post before I was spinning, plying, and finishing the spinning project that I was so worked up about. Sometimes they’re just totally addictive! We had plenty of episodes of bad TV stored up, so I just worked through the remaining fiber until it was done, since I was so excited to see how it would turn out. And how indeed! Here are the final results, after washing and setting and everything.

The recipient of this skein doesn’t work with thinner yarns, so I intentionally spun heavier than my “default settings.” I’m pleased with the results! The wpi measured out to a solid worsted weight, and the drape is wonderful because the big plies just loosely loop and play with each other.

As for yardage, this skein came out just over 150 yards, which seems like it’ll be a good amount for my friend to do a nice project. I’ve been thinking a lot about knitting with handspun recently… it’s definitely been “on the brain.” I have a huge skein of laceweight I’d like to make into a cardigan, although the color is a little -meh- for me so I haven’t been too tempted to dive into that undertaking. I recently made a fingering weight handspun triangle scarf that I sent away in a swap package, so I may have to replace that with another one. I think I need to get spinning so I have yarns to fill in all these knitting dreams!

I did use this spinning project to work in a little extra craft time, too. I carved a rubber froggy stamp to help make the green-themed tag to label the handspun! I love carving stamps, but it turns out I have way more aptitude for it than I have for doing actual stamping projects. Making labels for my yarns is about all of the papercrafting commitment I can handle, but I do love it when my fiber projects create excuses for me to make another carving!

Hopefully I can find another stamping use for this little frog! Maybe another green spinning project?

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