Warm Embers Cardigan – #1

In the current issue of Crochet! magazine I saw this:

Warm Embers Cardigan

I was visiting my sister when I purchased the magazine and she said that she really liked that cardigan. Not the colors, but the style. I’ve never crocheted a garment, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

This is the sweater that I needed to order the Ice Yarn’s Batik Chunky yarn.

IceY Batik Chunky Blk-Gry-Wht 7-16-19

I had decided to use these colors because they go with anything and I think that they will also disguise a lot of the cat and dog fur sticking to it. My sister has six cats and 2.5 dogs. They technically have a Chinese Crested Dog (she counts as 1/4 of a dog because she acts more like a cat) and their 13 week old St Bernard/Australian Shepherd counts as 2.25 dogs (he already weighs almost 50 pounds!). To say that there is a lot of fur in that house would be an understatement.

As I stated earlier, I’ve never made a garment before, but I know that gauge is important. So I did a gauge swatch with the hook that the pattern listed. I had too many stitches in the required length, and my rows were too tall. I switched to a smaller hook to see if that worked. That increased the number of stitches in my row (which I’d had too many before) and didn’t help with the height.

Swatch 1 - G Hook

I tried a bigger hook, but then I had too few stitches in the row. I switched back to the original hook and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. I managed to figure out how to get my rows the height that they needed to be thanks to this site.

I tried it again and managed go get the height correct (finally), but I still had too many stitches in my row. At this point I was growing impatient (patience is not one of my virtues), so I decided to follow the directions for the biggest size cardigan instead of the almost-biggest size. My reasoning was that as long as I can keep my row height consistent then that dimension should be fine. By following the larger size’s stitch count I should actually come out close to the size that I actually wanted to crochet. At the worst, if it was too big then I would have a cardigan for myself.

Using my row counter I started off crocheting the back of the cardigan.

WEC Back 7-29-19

The first problem that I ran into was with the crochet hook I was using. This pattern calls for the use of two crochet hooks. I’m using an ‘I’ and a ‘K’. I really like the ergonomic handles and so my ‘I’ hook is from the Hobby Lobby branded set that I bought two years ago. The ‘K’ hook is an ergonomic Boye hook. You have to use the larger hook for the puff stitches and I was having a devil of a time. I didn’t like how it fit in my hand and I couldn’t get as many loops as I needed. For the puff stitch you have to have nine wraps of the #5 yarn on your hook! I got tired of fighting with it so I stopped by Hobby Lobby that night after work and picked up a different ‘K’ hook. I opted for the Hobby Lobby brand of plastic hook because I did not want to pay $10 for the Clover plastic hook.

Here is a picture of the new ‘K’ hook versus the old one:

K Hooks

Not only is there very little throat room on the bottom Boye hook, but the hook itself was horrible! It didn’t want to grab the loops or any of the yarn at all. The plastic hook is great because I have all kinds of throat room for the nine loops and it fits very comfortably in my hand. The Boye hook is just too big and not designed very nicely at all. They put way too much rubber on it, which makes it even heavier. Let me show you the difference between the Boye hook and my two Hobby Lobby hooks.

I and K hooks

The very bottom is my Hobby Lobby ‘I’ hook and I love it! It’s shape is somewhat similar to the top plastic hook’s shape. Looking at all three of these you can probably see why I wouldn’t like the Boye hook. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. I suppose it will get tossed in a drawer somewhere.

I have managed to make the back and the two fronts so far.

WEC Finished Back

(Chester was making sure the back stayed in place)

WEC Finished Back and Fronts

The great thing is that so far the pieces are all the same length. I know that’s the ultimate goal, but it’s my first garment so you can’t automatically assume that will happen. Some people might be a little bothered by the fact that the variegated pattern doesn’t match, but at this point I don’t care. I expect that this cardigan will be worn around the house or out in the yard. I’m making it out of acrylic so that it’s easy to wash and dry, and if the animals snag it then it’s no big deal. This is a utilitarian sweater, not one to be worn out for special occasions.

I will write a separate review on the yarn because I have a lot to say about it. For now I’m just happy that this project is coming together!

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Review: Ice Yarn’s Pastel Cotton

Pastel Cotton

IceY Pastel Cotton 7-3-19

Recently I had been looking for reviews for another yarn from Ice Yarns, but couldn’t find many. So I decided that whenever I use one of their yarns I will give a review. Hopefully that will help somebody else who might have questions.

Pastel Cotton is a #4 worsted weight 50% cotton/ 50% acrylic blend yarn. Each ball weighs 50 grams (1.76 oz) and must be purchased in 8 packs.

IceY Pastel Cotton Orchid-Pink-Gold-Cream 7-3-19

The colorway that I used was the Pink Orchid Gold Cream.

I had two concerns when I purchased this: 1) Was it scratchy? 2) Would it easily glide on my hook?

This is definitely not a scratchy yarn. Ice Yarns uses a nice acrylic so that when it mixes with the cotton it gives it a fuzzy texture. I used this for a garment and I don’t think the recipient should have any issue with it being uncomfortable to wear. I am actually thinking about using the other colorway that I bought (Purple Blue Shades) to make a lacy open-weave top to wear over tank tops or turtle necks when you need just that little extra bit of warmth.

Cotton Pastel Fabric

I didn’t have any trouble with this yarn snagging on my hook. The cotton and acrylic are twisted together enough that there aren’t any loose strands to catch or split. In fact, this yarn was easier to crochet with than the acrylic yarn that I’m currently using on a different project. The Pastel Cotton glides so smoothly over your hook that you might be surprised at how quickly you go through an entire ball.

One other concern that some might have is how the color works up overall. This isn’t your typical variegated where you have runs of colors. Instead, it’s more of a motley mash-up of color.

Cotton Pastel Piece

The bright pink definitely stands out, but I didn’t feel like I was getting any color pooling at all. I used a magic knot to add each ball of yarn so that I didn’t have many ends to weave in when I was finished. I really like how the color worked up in this pattern.

I honestly can’t think of anything that I dislike about it. It might be nice if it came in a bigger center-pull skein, but that’s about all I would change.

If you’re looking for a nice cotton/acrylic yarn then I would definitely recommend the Pastel Cotton! I think that it works great for garments and anything else that your skin is going to touch. I give it five out of five stars.

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The Last Tree Cutting

Over the past six and a half years that we’ve lived in this house we’ve managed to cut down all of our trees except one.

Front Maple Tree 8-3-19

This giant maple resided in our front yard. It was beautiful and helped give our street the tree-lined look that everybody loves. However, we had an exterminator out to take care of a carpenter ant problem in the house and he said that they were living in that tree. The past two years I had noticed that the leaves on this tree didn’t seem nearly as big and full as the other maples nearby. Also, it shed a LOT of branches and I always worried that a big one was going to fall during high winds.

It wasn’t healthy, it was tearing up our sidewalk (causing a tripping hazard), and housing stinkin’ carpenter ants. It was time to bring it down. So we called our tree guy. Yes, we have a tree guy. Don’t you?

He had wanted to get here before the leaves budded out this year, but that didn’t happen. Finally last Saturday he showed up.

Front Maple Trunk 8-4-19

They got here at 9:30 and worked all day in the heat and humidity. I’m not sure when they left because we’d had to leave to go to my best friend’s wedding. When we got home all that was left was this trunk.

Our neighbors had already asked about the wood, so we told them to come get it. Their son heats with wood so it’s always nice to get some for free. We were just happy that we wouldn’t have to deal with it.

You can see the sun poking through the tree on the other side of the street. These trees kept the front of the house shaded until about 10:30 or 11 in the morning. However, with it gone this is what our living room looks like at 7 a.m.:

Sunlight in Living Room 8-4-19

It’s so bright!

I had to laugh because I had taken the bird feeders down before the tree guy showed up so that he could drop the limbs any where on the front lawn without trying to avoid things. Well, the birds were NOT happy. Little did they know what was soon to happen to their tree! It did make me wonder, though, what the people who buy this house when we move are going to think as the birds descend upon their front lawn and demand food. They might think that they are in an Alfred Hitchcock movie!

Wednesday I got home and noticed that the tree guy had been back.

Maple Tree Gone 8-7-19

I should have taken some pictures up close so that you could see the massive size of this tree. Jay works with our tree guy and he said that he had been surprised at just how big this tree really was. A quick glance and I was a bit irritated because the tree didn’t show a lot of signs of bad health. You could see insect trails where they had been chewing up the inside, but not what I had expected.

Then the neighbors came over with their son’s buddy and they started to cut up these massive pieces and split them. Jay has a chainsaw so he went out to help. Well, I have a little experience doing wood, too, so I thought I would go out and help a little bit. Here are my credentials:

Fun With Father

Let’s just say that I know my way around a log splitter.

Of course, the other night I’m out in my sweatskirt (my knit skirt, similar to sweatpants), my Croc sandals (my Cleos), and a tank top. Obviously not your typical wood chopping outfit. However, I had just figured I would help stack the wood in the truck. It’s difficult to run a wood splitter, handle the wood, and keep everything where you want it all by yourself so I stepped in. The wife was very worried that I was going to drop it on my foot. I was very conscious of not having decent footwear for the type of work that I was doing, so I told her that I was good.

Maple Tree Wood 8-8-19

It made me feel a little better that as we were splitting the bigger pieces we were finding all kinds of rot and decay in the middle. Not that rot and decay are good, but I didn’t want to feel like we had cut down a perfectly good tree. I’m not a tree hugger, but I’m not a tree hater either. We plan on planting another tree once we’ve taken care of the stump and fixed the sidewalk. Our other neighbors have what look like Crimson King Norway Maple trees planted in their front yard so we might go with one of those to make them look like they belong a little better. Or we might choose something else. Who knows.

We managed to get quite a lot done in the two hours that I was out there. Yes, I had to go inside before they had finished for the night. You see, there was an incident.

 

 

Wood Splitting Accident 8-8-19

Ha! You thought it was going to be my foot! Nope. I managed to get my finger smashed between a hunk of wood and the end of the wood splitter. I’ve got a nice cut on the top and the whole area is bruised. I over-did it with the gauze, however, I was doing it left-handed and just wanted to get some pressure put on it. It wasn’t bad, and seriously no matter what Jay says I’m not a wimp, but as I was taping it up I started to get light-headed. Before going to bed we removed my bandage and Jay did it up properly.

I guess some dreams just aren’t meant to come true. My dreams of being a hand model are now completely shot. *sigh*

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Ice Yarn Haul #2

I have been very bad. In my quest to get the best yarn at the lowest price for a Christmas present I ended up ordering from Ice Yarns again. I had barely opened the last haul before I was once again putting in an order. This is it, guys. No more yarn (unless it’s black, white or off-white) until after the first of the year. I have so much yarn now that I don’t even have the desire to look at yarn. Is that bad or what?

Again, I was very impressed with the service and shipping from Turkey.

Ice Yarns 7-16-19

The bag was quite dirty, but you would be too if you had traveled so far in such a short amount of time. I found one rip in the bag when I brought it in.

IceY Bag Rip 7-16-19

Luckily it didn’t seem to have done any damage to the yarn below.

Chester decided that she was going to help me to open the package.

Chester Helping 7-16-19

Or she just wanted to sit on the sheet that I was using as a background for my pictures. We’ll pretend that she actually wanted to help. Last time I posted my haul I didn’t show you pictures of the bag being opened. When I carefully cut the top open, this is what I saw:

IceY Bag Reveal 7-16-19

Can you see how tightly they managed to squish in those balls of yarn? It looks interesting, doesn’t it? Would you like to see what’s lurking in the bag?

Let’s start with the yarn that caused me to “have” to purchase all of this goodness. The chunky yarn for my sister’s cardigan.

IceY Batik Chunky Blk-Gry-Wht 7-16-19

Batik Chunky in Black, White Grey

If my calculations were correct, I think that I will only need 17 balls of this yarn. However, due to how you have to order from Ice Yarns I ended up getting 20. That’s fine with me because I would rather have too much than not enough.

IceY Batik Chunky 7-16-19

This is definitely soft and should make a nice cardigan. Since it’s variegated yarn I’m hoping that the pattern doesn’t look too dumb when I begin to sew the pieces together.

In order to justify the shipping I had to order more, of course.

I thought about a project that I would like to make for another friend for either Christmas or a birthday, so with that project in mind I went looking for some yarn.

First I came across this:

IceY Dream Blue Shades 7-16-19

Dream Blue Shades Anthracite Black

The site says that this is a #3 Light DK, Light, Worsted yarn. The tags it uses are Basic, Self-Striping, Double Knitting, 100% Acrylic, Blue.

But then I saw another yarn that looked very similar, so I bought one package of that to compare.

IceY Venice Blue Shades 7-16-19

Venice Blue Shades Anthracite Black

It says that this is a #2 Fine, Sport, Baby with the tags Summer Yarn, Basic, Self-striping, Fine Weight, 100% Acrylic, Multicolor.

I have compared both of these yarns, and except for the way that they are packaged, I would swear that they are the exact same yarn. Even though one is supposed to be a 3 and the other a 2, they both are about the same size. Probably closer to a 2 if I had to guess. They have the same feel when you touch them and I can’t find any difference between them at all. So I guess that if I do start a project I will have plenty of this yarn to complete it.

The rest of the yarn I purchased for Project Linus blankets.

I saw this yarn and knew that I had to work it into a blanket.

IceY Cakes Aran Grn-Trq-Bl-Rd-Yl 7-16-19

Cakes Aran Green, Turquoise, Blue, Red, Yellow

As you can probably see, this is a self-striping yarn so it will make a very easy blanket. I loved the bold primary colors. I think that if I add a green or blue it will make a very cute blanket.

The next yarn reminds me of Curious George. I think maybe it’s because the one book my grandma had used all of these colors on the cover.

IceY Cakes Baby Lollipop Yl-Grn-Brn-Gry 7-16-19

Cakes Baby Lollipop Yellow, Green, Brown, Grey

Isn’t that kind of fun? Here’s another angle to kind of see the colors and how they play together.

IceY Cakes Baby Lollipop 7-16-19

Another baby yarn that I purchased with some green and yellow in it:

IceY Favorite Baby Grn Shades-Yel-Wht 7-16-19

Favorite Baby Green Shades, Yellow, White

I think that will make a really pretty blanket.

I still needed more yarn to justify the shipping. I thought back to the green and white blanket that I made earlier this year. There really aren’t a lot of boyish versions of variegated yarn that includes some nice greens. I found one that might work.

IceY Favorite Magic 7-16-19

Favorite Magic

On the left: Black, Grey, White, Green Shades.

On the right: Green, Turquoise, Grey, Orange, Yellow

When I saw the orange it reminded me that one of my best friends in high school had LOVED orange. I don’t get it because I don’t care for the color at all, but he couldn’t get enough of it. I figure that there must be more boys out there like him so I picked up some orange yarn as well since you don’t really find it in the stores very often.

IceY Dancing Baby Grn-Org-Yel-Wht 7-16-19

Dancing Baby Green, Orange, Yellow, White

This had some more of the green in it so I grabbed it. If I can’t find orange to fill out the blanket I can use green or white. It gives me some options.

Finally, my last purchase was this beauty:

IceY Magic LtRd-Org-Yel 7-16-19

Magic Light Red, Orange, Yellow

It reminds me of orange sorbet. Or a dreamsicle. Mmmm… let’s take a closer look.

IceY Magic 7-16-19

Because these colors are so bold and beautiful I know that I won’t be able to find anything that matches. More than likely I’ll just offset the blanket with stripes of white. But that’s okay. It will be gorgeous.

All together this is what my haul looked like:

IceY Haul 7-16-19

That is a LOT of yarn. I am definitely at capacity for a while. No more yarn comes in until some of this goes out. Do you think that I can stick to it? I guess we shall see!

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Workshop Randomness

It appears that I haven’t been making a very good list of projects for Jay. He is just kind of roaming around his workshop like he’s lost. He’s worked on a few projects, but nothing substantial. When we went on vacation he was bored, too. My sister and I were heading out to Hobby Lobby and I asked him if he wanted anything. He asked for a project to work on.

F-18 Hornet Kit

I know that the F-18 is one of his favorite jets, plus that’s the jet that the Blue Angels are currently flying. Since we weren’t at home I also had to buy some tools and glue for him to use. I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to have extras at home.

F-18 Hornet Kit Assembly

He assembled what he could while at my sister’s until he got to the point where he needed to start painting the tiny parts.

F-18 Hornet Kit Painted

Once we were home he did a little more work on it, but then it got put away. He worked on various projects for me and then puttered around with other things in the workshop.

Then the other day another CNC Router showed up.

CNC Router No 2

A much smaller router. I’m still unclear as to why he needed a second baby router. The only thing I can figure is that he’s trying to have pairs of everything. After all, he has a pair of 3D printers.

2 3D Printers

He does NOT have a pair of keets, though.

Parakeet

In his boredom he has managed to work out a trade with his favorite vape shop. Their current pricing sign is a white board filled out with markers. Jay cut out vinyl letters with his laser cutter and used his router to make a nice border for a new sign.

Laser Cut Sign 7-29-19

The guys saw the mock-up and were very excited. Hopefully they are just as excited when it is presented to them.

So that’s what’s happening in the workshop. If you have any projects that you would like Jay to do, please send me a message through the ‘Contact Me’ link at the top of the page. We’ll see if we can fit you in!

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Project Linus Blanket #24

Project Linus Blanket #24

Project Linus Blanket #24 7-16-19

“Blueberry Droppings”

Due to very hot and humid weather that kept me holed up inside the house, it only took a little over a week for me to crochet this blanket. What also helped the progress is that I used the Premier Sweet Roll yarn. This yarn is self-striping so it looks like I made a lot of color changes, but I didn’t. The more I crochet with the Sweet Roll yarn, the more that I like it. It’s very soft and glides over my hook without any issues.

Project Linus Blanket #24 Detail

I am calling this “Blueberry Droppings” because the colors reminded me of the splotches left by the birds near my sister’s pool after they had eaten from her blueberry bushes.

It’s going to be a little while before I start on another blanket. I’ve started crocheting a Christmas gift for my sister and I would like to get that mostly done before I do another blanket. I am definitely not running out of yarn, though! In fact, I broke down and received another big package from Turkey two weeks ago. That yarn will be revealed in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!

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Review: Wood Magazine – Sept 2019

Once in a while I like to review a recent issue of Wood Magazine in order to share some projects that I think are interesting. We received the September 2019 issue a few weeks ago and I was impressed. There were a few projects that I thought would be really nice. However, I see that it says to only display until August 9, so hurry up and get a copy if you like any of these projects!

09 2019 Wood Magazine

I was instantly intrigued by the blanket chest shown on the cover. I have the Hope Chest that my grandma gave my mom after she was married, but if I didn’t already have one you can bet that I would be adding this to Jay’s project list.

09 2019 Wood Magazine Bandsaw Fence

Jay already has a fence for his bandsaw, but if you didn’t I thought this would be a great How To article. The magazine gives you an exploded view of the fence and all of the dimensions. This is made of plywood so you could probably find enough scraps laying around to make it very cheaply. If you don’t have enough scraps you can come over here and get some. We have plenty!

09 2019 Wood Magazine Hope Chest

Isn’t that chest gorgeous? The article provides you with an exploded view of the chest, a materials list and even a cutting diagram. They use walnut plywood and three coats of clear satin water-based polyurethane. Beautiful!

09 2019 Wood Magazine Drill Caddy

If you’re a very newbie beginner when it comes to wood working you might like this article. This is a very simple build that uses scrap pieces of plywood. The only modification that I would do, if this was my design, would be to use either 1/8″ or 1/4″ plywood for the shelves holding the nails. They used 3/4″ plywood for the shelves. To me that means that they wasted valuable space that could have fit at least one more box on each side. Of course, I am a woman and we know that women and power tools don’t mix.

I didn’t capture a picture, but they have a good article on five different ways to slice breadboard ends. If you’re into using breadboards this is the article for you!

Another articles (again, I didn’t capture a picture) shows you how to make a tablesaw sled attachment to make perfect miter cuts.

09 2019 Wood Magazine Playhouse

I added this article because I have a different opinion on kids’ playhouses. My dad built us a playhouse, but he made it large enough that we used it to store the outside furniture in the winter and when we had outgrown it they re-purposed it for a potting shed. My advice would be to consider what you are going to do with the structure once the kids have outgrown it. Looking at this playhouse, I would have outgrown it by the time I was six (I am a bit of a giant). However, having a larger playhouse allowed my sister and I to continue using it for sleeping out in the summer when we had grown out of the ‘Playing House’ phase. This is a lot of money to invest in a child’s toy. Invest wisely.

09 2019 Wood Magazine Brad Nailers

Have you always wanted a battery-powered Brad Nailer? Does Brad know that you are after him? I always feel bad for Will because he’s ALWAYS the target (“Fire at Will!”), but now Brads are in trouble, too. I better go on to the next article before I get Kerry’d away…

09 2019 Wood Magazine Under-sink Caddy

I LOVE this project. I sort of mentioned it to Jay, but I’ll have to remind him that this would be great to have. I don’t need it on slides and I have a different design in mind based on what I store under there, but this would be SOOO nice to pull out in order to see what was in the back. Currently I just half-toss stuff in the back hoping that I can find it again. Definitely not the most organized system, but it’s all that I have right now.

If you decide that you’re going to make the blanket chest, but are worried about how to spray finish it you can put your mind at ease. In the exact same magazine as the blanket chest is an article that makes spray finishing look like a breeze!

09 2019 Wood Magazine Mortar-Pestle

Do you know somebody who is graduating from pharmacy school? Or perhaps you have a wood lathe laying around collecting dust? Then this article is for you! This is a wood turning project that is sure to get your gears grinding! (The article refers to this as an “indispensable kitchen accessory,” but I don’t agree… I know a lot of good and mediocre cooks who don’t use a mortar and pestle. Including me. It’s not “indispensable.”)

09 2019 Wood Magazine Spray Gun

Once you are finished coating your blanket chest with a spray finish, you can proceed on to this article where you are shown the easy way to clean out your spray gun. After all, you can’t use it if the nozzle is clogged. Believe me! I know what it’s like to have a clogged nozzle and it is not fun!

That pretty much sums up this issue of Wood Magazine. I have skipped some bits, but you’ll have to go buy a copy to find out which ones. I hope that these get your creative juices flowing, or at least show you that this magazine is for woodworkers of all levels. There are some frivolous (and very “dispensable”) projects, along with some really neat utilitarian items. You just never know what’s going to be waiting for you on these pages.

 

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