May 11, 2013

Kindle Coozie - Pattern Soon to Come!

I made this Kindle Koozie (pronounced coo-zee) a while ago, but in use I realized just what a great piece it is! The pattern really blossomed out of necessity (partially from accident) but the shape is perfect for holding my Kindle, it slides in-and-out with no issue, it opens easily, and I can even charge my Kindle while it's still in the case (if the plug is facing upwards). I forget about my Kindle a lot, and just sort of throw it into the bottom of my bag or in the back seat of my car, and it has yet to be damaged in any way! But the cover has taken a bit of a beating (it is about 9 months old), so this is a good opportunity to re-create it so I can share the pattern with the world.

Let me share with you how it came about:
When I got my Kindle last February, I knew I had to make my own case for it! I figured this was a great excuse to use the rest of this beautiful blue acrylic-cashmere blend I found in a thrift store, whose fiber is a bit too warm for a summer accessory, and it's color almost too summery for a cold-weather piece! I also had just received a load of straight needles that belonged to my grandmother, and as a major hat-knitter I had barely a chance to use them! I also was going cable-crazy at the time, and absolutely needed to include a cable in this pattern. I had a feeling it might be too narrow as I was knitting the first side, so I added a couple of stitches to give it width and depth on the bottom fold. When I got to the flap, I wanted something that wouldn't curl too much but would still look nice, so I decided to use seed stitch. After finding a suitable button, I made a button hole and voila! All-in-all, it was really a coincidence that it turned out so well, but the second time around will certainly be more tactful!

I'm going to post the pattern as soon as I've perfected it!

October 18, 2012

Can't... resist... cheap... yarn...!

Today I went after class to Value Village Thrift Store in Hyattsville. You know.... to pick up a few things. Halloween things. Necessary things. Instead I came back with yarn.

On the bright side: it's yarn, and it was a steal.
On the other hand: I already have sooo much yarn!

Nonetheless, photo op time!

my shopping loot!

they're ginormous skeins

These two skeins were $3.99 a piece, each has about 642 yards. That's roughly the size of six-and-a-half regularly-sized skeins. Need I say more?

A lot of the time when I go thrift shopping I end up with a bunch of anonymous yarns without tags or other proper identification, so it's a real treat when they have actual attached labels! These came in some bags with a few anons, I just grouped them together on my Ravelry profile. 

couldn't even find this particular one on Ravelry for some reason

Orange for Halloween (in theory)

I only spent a total of $22.17, including two sewing patterns, a beanie baby, some pumpkin candles, cat slippers, three (and a half) sets of straight acrylic needles, and seven skeins of yarn. 

So, all around a pretty successful day! 

In fact, I got so excited by my yarn photo-op that I took new Ravelry pics of many of my other yarns :)

September 27, 2012

Come on, grab your friends!

Today (or what is now technically yesterday) was my step-brother's twelfth birthday. I had been searching through Ravelry patterns with him on the couch and I found some Adventure Time patterns, he expressed interest in them and asked me to make him one for his birthday. I stored it away in my thought bank, but didn't want to tell him right then whether or not I was going to do it. I do this in part because my output of products is unreliable, and in part for the sake of the surprise. 

This show is just literally too much, but in a good way. 

Well, it was a good thing I got started early on this little Jake doll! For some reason I thought his birthday was on the 29th but in fact it was the 26th (my dad referred to it as "birthday dyslexia"). I realized this on the 25th and was glad I had finished it the day before! Christopher seemed to love it, and I made sure to get the look on his face right when he opened it.

so worth all the effort!

Some of my struggles with this project:

i-cord: I have very little experience with i-cords, and the few I have had have been shotty. Years ago I attempted a few micro-softies and failed as I got lost between the slew of needles and relative dearth of stitches, and about a year ago I successfully made an i-cord bind-off to a bikini top, and used the two-needle method to make the straps. Since then I have just made obscene amounts of hats. So, I went about this project with my Knitting Answer Book by my side. The problem I found with the two-needle method was that the very back row of stitches, where you must loop over and pull it tight as you begin to transfer it from one needle to the other, is rather loose and can change the shape of the cord (that's why Jake's arms are a bit wonky). So, I learned that "pull tight" means to pull tight!

the beginning stages Jake's legs

Also, when it was time to pull the yarn through the remaining stitches, I found the edge was unsatisfyingly loose-looking on both ends. I fixed this through some weaving in of ends, but later on I'll have to look into the ins-and-outs of i-cords and see if it was just me.

The ears: The body was easy, though joining the legs to the work and then adding the stitches between them took a bit of fandangling, it worked out just fine. But when it came to the ears, I couldn't figure out which way they were supposed to go! I wasn't sure if I had knitted the wrong side and purled the right side, because when they stood up the purl side was facing outwards. I decided, instead, to tack the ears down with some thread after I seamed the top shut, and call it a day. Looking back on it, I would probably add the ears on rather than knit them with the work and having to work my way around them.

looks like he has cauliflower ears
finished Jake before the ears were tacked

The eyes: I couldn't find any black and white felt for the life of me! I told myself I wasn't going to buy any more craft stuff as our basement is full of it, but we had every color but black and white! I decided that cloth was going to fray unless I sewed the seams shut, and all together the work would be too small to be worth it, and though I could find black buttons, nothing that resembled Jake's eyes per se, only general dog-eyes. So I began to embroider them on with some thread I found in the basement (score one for the cheap people!). Although they didn't quite turn out rounded and puppy-dog-like like Jake's , it looked better with the white pupils rather than the dark black holes staring into your soul that buttons would've given him.

I've sewn worse-looking things
Stuffing: Ok, here comes the fun part! Of course, it has a mini-backstory. You see, one of the things I love most about knitting (and generally about DIY projects) is that you save resources by not shipping and making things in masse, you can find uses for just about everything! As such, I had kept every scrap of yarn (yes, even the little end-pieces) in bags according to material type: acrylic/wool or cotton. My reasoning was, at some point I would gather enough to stuff some teddy bear or something (and then who will be laughing? My roommates who mocked me and called me a hoarder, who said I'd never find a use for such things?! No, indeed, I will be the one laughing maniacally!) Since this is the first softie project I had done in a while (like I said, i-cord, pretty annoying, yadayada) I thought it was as good a time as any to put my plan into action! So, I sorted through my wool/acrylic baggie and pulled out all of the yellow/orange scraps I could find and piled them up nicely on my bed. I then pulled the fibers apart to form single strands (wish I had taken a picture of that, it looked kinda like ramen noodles). It was during this that I realized that the longer strands were more onerous to take apart, so I cut some of the tougher yarns into smaller pieces before I shredded 'em. I then attempted to pull the fibers apart with my fingers, and it went very slowly, so I did like the monkeys and went searching for tools.

this packing tape dispenser did wonders!
I pulled and pulled like loving, yet tough, mother on her daughter's untamed mane until it suited my needs

empty Jake and the re-purposed scraps
the filling of Jake
and then I sewed him up real nice!

Final seam: for some reason I was having trouble with this, I tried out several types of stitches until I decided to go with the simple whip-stitch. I might have looked into stitches that laid flatter, but I was tired from all that fluffing! Maybe it gives him a more homemade look? As long as Christopher is happy, I'm good. 

the final product. 

Thanks so much to Rebecca Olson for making this pattern available! 

September 19, 2012

Not a Cold Head in the House!

So, I've gotten really into knitting hats. I've found that thin stripes are a great way to break up a plain stockinette beanie, and a nice way to use up the last of a yarn. I think my friends/family members have begun to suspect my gifts in advance, I've either got to get new friends or start knitting new things!

Here are a few of my favorite hats that have come off my needles since my last posting:

This is a bulky-weight yarn on about size 10.5 needles, the idea was to make it warm and quick! It's a basic 1x1 rib with a stockinette body.
I gave this one to my brother Esteban for his birthday on the 9th of September. His response was something along the lines of: "Thanks, I'll add it to the other hats you gave me."

This one is a sport weight hat, the purple-ish color is wool (Knit Picks Stroll Sport in Clematis Heather) and the blue is a cotton blend (Knit Picks' unbelievably soft Comfy Sport in Planetarium). I used size 5 needles and the stranded color technique, which happens to the only one I have really mastered. I wanted to use up the rest of the Clematis from my Hermione Hearts Ron hat, and I had a relatively limited option of sport yarns to go along with, as you can tell I ran out of purple towards the top and finished it off with the blue. I rather wish now I had given it a blue base with purple stripes, especially considering how soft the Comfy Sport is, but you live and learn!

This one is made of a yarn I got last Halloween from my friend Zach. He used it as "hair" in his Blake Henderson from Workaholics costume, and I noticed he had quite a bit left; I kindly offered to take it off of his hands, and he obliged. It is acrylic, Red Heart yarn (in Cafe Latte and Dark Brown) and was knitted with US8 circular needles. The great thing about acrylic is that it is very durable, cheap, warm, and washes well; the bad thing about acrylic is that it is rough on the hands when knitting. While as a finished piece it isn't intolerably rough, rubbing the yarn across the fingers repeatedly can verily cause some sort of sore (mine is always on the top knuckle of my right ring finger, because of the way I wrap the yarn). 
I gave this hat to my friend Richard for his birthday, on the 30th of August. It was his first hat from me and he seemed very excited. In fact, in spite of the sauna-like temperature of his house filled with party people, he wore it around for a good ten minutes before I convinced him to save it for the fall! 

I'm in the middle of knitting up another version of this hat, with even tan and brown stripes, and plan to give it to Zach as a thank you for the donation to the Carmen's-Yarn-Stock Fund. I should start making cards of some sort to further encourage this behavior. Hopefully he'll spread the word and before I know it I will be bathing in yarn!! Really, these things should be tax-deductible. 

March 8, 2012

Oh, the Knits You'll Knit!

I haven't been doing quite as much knitting as I did the past few semesters; I blame video games. But I have been able to make some nice hats to give my friends, and was able to finish my very first pair of socks (luckily, it's not the size of the sock, but the motion of the needles!). Now I have some baby stuff and no one to give it to! I'll most likely donate them to charity. The question is, which one?

October 3, 2011

Senior Year at Maryland :-/

I have mixed feelings about my senior year at UMD. For one, its nice to know soon I'll be going into the real world with no real obligations. On the other hand, I'll be going into the real world with no real plans and a degree in Psychology. So, I figured I might as well try to make some money now. I'm working in the costume shop at the performing arts center, and I have my Etsy shop. The latter hasn't been too fruitful, but I remain hopeful!

More projects and patterns to come as soon as I have time! Till then, check out my Etsy shop and Ravelry page

September 21, 2011

Find me on Etsy!

So, I put a few things up on Etsy but I really lack the business prowess to put effort into selling them. They're mostly hats, pretty straight-forward, and some craft notions.

I'm working on taking some better pictures and coming up with a shop theme, but per usual things are busy in the Connor household. Maybe when I graduate (gulp) I'll be able to make a bit of money. Who knows?

April 7, 2011

Cabled Baby Mitts

I wanted to make a set of newborn mitts to match this Reversible Cabled Baby Hat, so I made up this pattern. Mine were a bit too long so I shortened these. Feel free to steal it, but of course for personal use only. I wrote out the pattern (the abbreviated form in parenthesis)

Yarn: Peaches & Creme, Patio Pinks(Worsted) I found it at a thrift store and I wanted to put this one skein to good use
Needles: US7 (4.5mm) DPNs
CO20 (join in the round)
-8 rows in 1x1 rib (*k1, p1* 8 rows)
-k 8 rows in stockinette (k across)
-k 2, slip two onto cable needle, knit next two, then knit the slipped stitches (*k2, cbl2, k2*) across row, leaving a 4-stitch cable in total
-k 1 row across
-begin decrease: k8, knit 2 together(*k8, k2tg*) across
-k across row
-(*k7, k2tg*)
-k across
-(*k6, k2tg*)
-k across
-(*k5, k2tg*)
-k across
-k2tg across
String through and pull tight

February 10, 2011

I couldn't help myself

I ended up buying more!
I just love Knit Picks yarn, it never disappoints. Opening the package is like Christmas.
From now on, no buying yarn until I finish at least a fourth of my current stash.

January 9, 2011

Irish-Inspired Green Beanie for Dad!

I decided I wanted to make a ribbed hat for my dad, I had this wonderful Irish-themed aran yarn from Knit Picks and I just decided to wing it.

I used size 8 interchangeable acrylic circulars, bamboo DPNs to shape the top.
CO90 (my dad's head was 23 inches around, I might go for a different number next time)
*K2, P1* around until the piece measures about 9 inches (you can make it longer or shorter depending on how you want the fold to look)

*K2TG, P1, K2, P1* across
*K1, P1* 1 rnd
*K2tg, P2tg* across
*K1, P1* 1 rnd
*P2tg* across
weave yarn through the ends and pull tight

January 5, 2011

Slouchy Hats For Erroneeee!

I finally finished this hat! I started it a month ago and I picked it back up yesterday. It felt really good weaving in those ends!

I actually got this yarn at a thrift store, my favorite part was the swirly design that ended up on the top, the rest of it sort of looks blue-cow-y.

I generally look horrible in hats (I gots a big ol' head) so I gave it to my friend Scott. Granted, he was asleep when he accepted it. He just sleepily put it on his head and lay back down.

November 29, 2010

Holiday Knitting

Its that time of year again! God, I love the holidays. Mostly because I love giving presents, and I love having an excuse to knit! The best part is trying to personalize each gift. The hard part is trying to figure out if they would like it. Most patterns are at least slightly outdated, so its up to me to tweak them to suit my needs. I sometimes just cut out the middle man and ask my friends what they want me to knit them. I show them the pattern and some yarn choices. I usually deviate some from that but it at least gives me an idea of what they like.

Take this ribbed cowl. I knit it for myself and my friend said she really liked it. She asked me to make her one. I asked her what color she wanted and she said the very same one. Which was a relief because I happened to have an extra skein of that yarn!
I hope I can accommodate my Jewish friends and can get some done before Hanukkah! Its coming so early this year.

July 28, 2010

Baggie baggie baggie can't you see...

So I made this little baggie to put Nina's bday present in, a hand-knit thong! I still haven't finished the thong but I finished the baggie. I kinda just made up this pattern because I wanted something flat-knit but with holes to see whats inside. I'll post the pattern here for anyone interested.

Work stock for 8 rows, slipping first stitch purlwise
Sl 1 (K2tg, k2tg, yo, yo) across row
sl first stitch, stockinette for 14 rows
*Sl 1 (K2tg, yo) till last 2, k2. Next row Sl 1, purl across. Repeat for 8 rows.*
Sl 1, work stockinette for 34 rows
Repeat *
Sl 1 work stockinette for 8 rows
Sl 1 (K2tg, k2tg, yo, yo) across rows
Work stockinette 8 rows, BO
Seam sides, RS in. Then loop scrap yarn through the top loops.

July 22, 2010

Happy Father's Day! Oh, wait.

Well, last week I finally finished my Father's Day scarf for my dad. Better late than never, and its the thought that counts, right? Its 90 degrees outside anyway.

July 9, 2010

Shrug #2!

All done and given to my sister. This one was made from wool yarn unlike the last which was cotton. Its also machine washable, which is always good.

Summer Projects

This knitting thing is lasting longer than many expected, including myself. Besides convincing myself it can be somehow related to feminism I have also found it to be rather relaxing, interesting, and thrifty. Yes, three adjectives in a row. Score.

Right now I'm working on a Father's Day scarf (more like a end-of-August scarf at this rate) along with a series of dishcloths to replace those my roommate has taken with her into Columbia Heights. So far I've finished two small ones out of leftover yarn from my shrug, one heart shaped one and a squarish one, but they're basically useless because they're too small to hang from the oven handle or to dry anything substantial. In an effort not to waste my precious yarn (my preeciousss) I decided to shred some cotton t-shirts to see what happens when I knit them up. I tried to make it a good 1-inch wide strip but it probably varies between 1/4 inch and 1.5 inch, with an average of about 1 inch I'd say. This first one is coming out alright, I decided to do a k2 row, p2 row repeat because I couldn't chose between stockinette and garter stitch. I have another ball of t-shirt yarn to use so maybe the next one I'll try to cable or something cool like that.

June 25, 2010


So sometimes I like to take videos of me knitting while watching TV in a snuggie, what's it to ya? I wanted to see what I looked like when I knit. Now I know how I look to the rest of the world, absolutely ridiculous.
I'm working on an Antro-Inspired Capelet for my sister, this time in a 100% wool Tidepool Heather instead of a cotton-blend Ivory. I hope she likes it!

June 15, 2010

Little dudes

I'm gonna start making some of these little dudes to use up my leftover yarn from my projects. I only have one set of double-pointed needles and they're size 3 metal ones I bought before I even knew how to use them. I couldn't make the ears the way the pattern said to (I kept losing track of which needle to use next) so I just made them flat with stockinette stitch in the middle and k1 on the edges, they are only 4 stitches wide. Also, my seaming rather sucks ass. All in all I rather like this little dude, I might include him with my dad's father's day gift.

June 13, 2010

Scarflet Done!

All done! I decided to sequin the flap-thingies because I messed up one part on one side and then I had to even it out. I rather like how it came out! Next project- a scarf for dad, hopefully by father's day!

May 23, 2010

Potholders for Momma!

I was planning on knitting my mom some sort of shawl or scarf for her birthday, but she insisted she needed a potholder so I started knitting one intermittently quite some time ago. Needless to say I was quite bored by the project and decided to unravel it recently and start over, but this time doubling up the tweed orange wool yarn I had in my stash with a red Knit Picks wool for felting purposes and extra insulation. I rather like how they turned out, though I like the last one I knit the best because I decided to ditch the complicated stockinette deal I had going and just knit a garter potholder. Next time I'll just stick to the garter, I held the yarn triple so it knit up very quickly, in less than a day in fact! It shrunk a lot when I felted it but its very thick and useful! I don't like the color combo so much but it was what I had and my mom loves them! I ended up making 3 and *almost* using up all my orange yarn! The ball left is soo small but I can't bear to throw things away!