Happy Halloween + Autumn FOs

Halloween is a Big Deal holiday for me. It’s maybe my favorite. I love everything about October and the lead-up to trick-or-treating.

I think it may have to do with my Halloweens when I was growing up. My mom always made me amazing costumes. It was so exciting to decide what I wanted to be, go to the fabric store and pick out a pattern and fabrics, and watch as my mom made the costume of my dreams come true. Over the years, I was a a pumpkin, a fairy princess, Miss America and Jasmine, just to name a few. I loved every one of them.

But we lived in a cornfield on a country road, and trick-or-treating wasn’t really that accessible. No one came to our house most of the time. Occasionally a friend’s mom would drive one of my friends out, but that was rare. My parents would drive me to a handful of houses in town where we knew the people well. I would show off my costume the best I could, and that would be that. The one time I remember trick-or-treating with my older cousin in her neighborhood was amazing! It was so cool to walk from house to house and get loads of candy.

Now we live in a very active Halloween neighborhood, where lots of people decorate for it (though I’m guessing I may be the only one with decorations in every room and outside) and where we average about 100 trick-or-treaters each year. I love it! I love seeing the kids run excitedly from house to house and to see all the neat costumes. We dress up as well. I’m so excited that Baby Knitsnips will get to have that experience in a couple of years. This year, she’ll be dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast and will be helping me pass out candy at home.

However… my town has postponed trick-or-treating until tomorrow due to the threat of “severe weather” – which is really just rain. I think it’s silly to try to postpone a fixed holiday like Halloween. It does mean BK will get to wear her costume twice since I will take her to around to see my parents and my aunt and uncle tonight and then she’ll wear it again for the trick-or-treaters tomorrow.

We have also been sporting some of my Halloween-themed knits that I’ve finished up in the last month or two. My desire to get nice pictures with our “good” camera has gotten in the way of me posting things, so in the interest of getting stuff out there before Halloween is over, we’ll make due with some iPhone photos!

Here are my Spooky Season Fingerless Mitts (pattern: seeded mitts), made with the same self-striping yarn as my socks. I’m still undecided on how I feel about these. I had a lot of misgivings as modified them to make them fit. When I cast on the number specified in the pattern, they were ridiculously huge – my modifications are here on Ravelry – but the mods to make them fit also make them look ridiculously small when they are off my hands. Spooky Season Mitts

I found the buttons at Hobby Lobby in the scrapbooking section of all places. I like having a little variety on otherwise matching mitts.

My second FO is a pumpkin hat (pattern: Kurbis baby hat) for Baby Knitsnips. This project I L-O-V-E.  Every time I have taken her out in it, she gets tons of compliments. And while I’m sure that a lot of it has to do with how cute she is in general, the hat really adds something. Baby Pumpkin HatI originally intended this to have a leaf or a spiral vine on it, but once I fell in love with this pattern that had the curled stem, nothing else looked right on it.

So now BK and I are watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. So much goodness! Harry’s inflating aunt! The Knight Bus! Hermione punching Draco! The Time Turner! Werewolves!

Hope you’re finding something to make you happy today. Happy Halloween, everyone!!!

 

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FO: Halloween Spider Yarn Wreath…tutorial including lessons learned!

How often do you see something online or in a store and think: “I could make that!” It happens to me all the time. But I am increasingly having a second conversation with myself which is – is it worth my time? Having a baby and the subsequent rare free time really make you value your time. Is your time more valuable than the amount you’d save by making it instead of buying it already finished?

Now, in many cases, like knitting, saving time or money is not the goal for me. I knit because I like to, and I guess in that way I am a process knitter (though I am also driven by the end goal of finishing something lovely and knowing I made it myself!).

In other cases, like home decor, I waffle a bit on what I should do. In this instance, I saw a beautiful wreath while I was browsing on Etsy (which I must stop doing – it makes me want ALL THE THINGS – especially the Halloween things). As of today, I cannot find the Etsy listing any more, so I can’t credit the original creator, but this is the image (courtesy of Google image search). And I thought: “It involves Halloween and yarn – amazing! I could make this! And save money! And not have to pay a bunch for shipping! Let’s do this!”

So my mom, Baby Knitsnips and I headed out to the craft stores to pick up supplies. It turned out that between me and my mom, we had a lot of the things we needed already. Here’s what I used that you will need:

Black Yarn: $1.92 (Red Heart Super Saver)
Orange Yarn: from my stash (Vanna’s Choice)
Light Green Yarn: from mom’s stash (Cascade 220)
Dark Green Yarn: from mom’s stash (Caron One Pound)
Dark Purple Yarn: from mom’s stash (Caron One Pound)
Bright Purple Yarn: from mom’s stash (Caron One Pound)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue: mom’s
Pipe Cleaners:  $0.87
1 package of 1 in Smoothfoam balls: $1.66
1 package of 1.5 in Smoothfoam balls: $2.56
1 package of 2 in Smoothfoam balls: $3.27
1 package of 2.5 in Smoothfoam balls: $3.27
Wire wreath frame: $1.79
Googly Eyes: from mom’s stash
Wire Staples: dad’s

Here’s what I used that you will not need:

Fabric Tack: mom’s
Straight Pins: mom’s
Wired Stakes:  $1.79

Total cost: $17.13

Here’s how you make one. Lessons learned from this project will be in bold (and there are a lot of them).

  1. I tied four lengths of yarn to the wire frame to make two intersecting Xs. Then I wrapped yarn in a spiral around these base pieces to create a spider web. It didn’t stay quite as taut as I wanted it to, so I used some black thread to tie the intersections to where I wanted them to remain. Halloween wreath in progress
  2. I started by using some fabric tack spread on a small portion of the Smoothfoam balls and wound the yarn around it until all the white was covered. I should have started by using hot glue instead of the fabric tack. But Mom had kindly left the glue gun for my use at my house, and I had started the wreath project at her house. I should have just driven home to get it, but I was excited about starting and decided to make due with the fabric tacky stuff. It was a MESS, got stuck all over my fingers which attracted yarn fuzz, was hard to get off my hands, and didn’t hold nearly as well as hot glue.
  3. When I was done wrapping each ball, I used the little stake with wire attached to drive the end of the yarn into the Smoothfoam. This did make the end pretty secure, but it was a beast to drive the stakes through the foam. In the end, my dad started hammering them in for me. The premise of using these wired stakes seemed like a brilliant idea, but when it came to attaching the balls to the wreath form, it didn’t really work. You don’t need the stakes – this is another case where you should just hot glue the end down. We used the hot glue method on the smallest ones, and it worked very well.
  4. I then tried to use the wire to attach each ball to the wire wreath form. I couldn’t make it tight enough to keep the balls in the right place. I also used the wreath upside down, in the idea that it would provide a nice cradle and keep it more secure. On reflection, I think I would have used it the intended way, but this wasn’t really a problem.
  5. Instead, I ended up using spare yarn and a tapestry needle to sew the balls onto the wreath by picking up a few strands on each ball and tying it around the frame. This may also have been a mistake as it encouraged some unraveling. Again, I would have used hot glue! We hot glued the smallest size near the end of the project, and that worked nicely.
  6. My mom helped me out by cutting 3 balls in half – one large, one medium, and one small – with a knife to make my spiders. I used both halves of the small one, and just one half of the other two. I wrapped them in black yarn like the others.
  7. I cut lengths of pipe cleaner for each spider that seemed proportionate to the size of the spider. I initially put these onto the spider using a bent straight pin as a kind of makeshift staple. That didn’t work, so my dad got out some staple-like nails he had, which I think are meant to tack wires in. My mom hammered those into the spiders – you could use just one staple for each and put all the lengths of pipe cleaner through one and then fan out the legs. I think this is another instance where you could use hot glue, but the staples worked well.
  8. Mom then helped me hot glue some googly eyes on each spider. Mom had multiple sizes, so we used large for the medium and large spiders, and medium ones for the two small ones.
  9. We hot glued each spider onto the wreath.
  10. Then mom and I looked at the wreath to identify any gaps and then hot glued the smallest ones where we needed the extra coverage.
  11. The final step was to wrap a pipe cleaner around the back of the wire frame to use as a hanger.

Halloween wreath completed and displayed

I would have never finished this project without my mom. I was starting to despair a little when a few strands of yarn started to unravel and I didn’t think it looked as nice as I wanted it to. I really considered giving up. I lamented that I should have just paid the lady on Etsy for one that was already done. But, like always, mom stepped in, helped me make a few adjustments (and we started wielding the hot glue gun all over the place!), and it turned out really nicely! Now, every time I walk past it, I think: “It’s so cute! I can’t believe I considered giving up on it!”

So, now it’s your turn. If it’s worth it to you to know you made something really cool instead of buying one from someone else (and there are still very similar listings on Etsy if you’re interested – or if you start and give up. :-)), learn from my experience and make yourself a wickedly cool wreath!

Rug hooking update

So I’ve discovered through my first project that rug hooking is a lot more like a suggestion than a knitting pattern. I found myself rushing a bit when I found myself in a awkward spot (particularly around the x stitches on the top) just to get through it, which led to a somewhat shabby result. But then I got disappointed with the quality of my work, pulled it back, and tried to make it as neat as possible, even though I was still kind of winging it.

That being said, I have finished the rug hooking part of my project in about 7 hours. And that, I think, is pretty fabulous. I love him. My little monster.
Frankenstien rug hooking projectFrom what I understand, I now need to steam him and do some finishing, but I’m going to need some guidance from my LYS friends on how to do that properly. Regardless, I am thrilled he is going to be completed before Halloween!

FO: Scrumptious Cowl

Back in the summer, my mom and I attended a knit and crochet fair. I found this yummy yummy milk/soy yarn and couldn’t resist. Milky Whey yarn

It was so yummy that I decided the project must be something close to my skin and face, so I settled on a cowl.

After a bit of debate, I settled on the ever-popular Honey Cowl since I had never made one. But what I fell in love with was not the traditional pattern, but mintti’s modifications – I added two rows to the pattern that were just stockinette. Scrumptious cowlI think it adds a nice chain-like effect to the cowl. The reverse still looks nice and consistent enough that it doesn’t matter if you see the “wrong” side. Scrumptious cowl close-upThis yarn (Milky Whey) has a pretty extreme drape and is kind of floppy. I don’t mind it too much for something like a cowl, but it would be something to note if you were looking to make something more structured. It may be worth the trade-off for the extreme softness though! It had it’s first outing when it was cool yesterday morning. and I enjoyed wearing it immensely.

I still have about a skein and a third left, so I’m contemplating a hat. Any ideas for a nice floppy hat pattern?

FO: Business Casual Socks

Several weeks ago at knit night, I finished up my Business Casual Socks. Business Casual socksI have been obsessed with these socks since I started. I love the combination of the beautiful colorway (Indiecita), the fact that it’s Malabrigo (yum!) and this pattern (Business Casual).

I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern – I just followed the instructions for the small size. Business Casual socks 2

You know what’s funny about pictures? That you can’t see the circumstances surrounding the photos. Like how Mr Snips and I dashed out onto the patio to take these photos in stifling heat, and it was so hot, we could hardly stand to get the photographs done. And how I pulled on these wool socks for the shortest amount of time possible so we could grab a few quick photos and then dash back into the A/C. Seems funny now, since we’ve ventured into fall. Though it’s still warm, it’s nothing like it was that day!

I am sure these will quickly become a favorite when it finally gets cool enough to wear socks – I’m holding onto my sandals for a while longer. I’m very happy with how they turned out.