Botanical Knits & Crafts, Holiday Knits & Crafts, Tweaks & Alterations

Green Knits for Spring, Remixed

Happy First Day of Spring! To celebrate the Vernal Equinox, I give you three green knits, each re-imagined in some way and ready for transitional weather:

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Fingerless mitts: Vancouver Fog

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This is my version of Vancouver Fog by Jen Balfour. Fun fact: this soft, blue green yarn used to be a different knit entirely. A long time ago, back in the loose knitting days I’ve mentioned before, I knit Calorimetry from Knitty’s Winter 2006 issue. It came out poorly:

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See how loose it was in the back? It barely stayed on my head, and that was before it stretched out. I even overlapped the ends and did two buttons to try to keep it in place, to no avail.

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Fast forward a year or so and I was planning to make some fingerless mitts for a friend’s birthday. She chose the Vancouver Fog pattern, with its beautiful cable pattern, and I just knew that this was the right yarn for the job. So I frogged Calorimetry and started remaking this muted, spruce colored worsted weight yarn into hand warmers.

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I remember being disappointed that there wasn’t a gauge for this project, but I had learned my lesson about my loose knitting—so instead of the recommended size 7 needles, I used size 3! I know! I also cast on 4 fewer stitched than recommended. Yes, I went that tight! But the results were spot on:

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These fingerless mitts were a good fit, and I got to practice some cool cabling techniques. I’m quite pleased with my decision to frog the original pattern.

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AFTER
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Fingerless mitts are great for those times when it’s too cool out for bare hands, but not cold enough for gloves!

Leafy Skirt or Mini Cape: Entry Level Capelet

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This is a really old project, but the loose knitting didn’t matter with this very simple garment. It’s the aptly named Entry Level Capelet by Haley Waxberg. It’s a good pattern for a hand dyed variegated yarn like this one. The color pooling was not even, but that gives it an interesting self-spiraling effect at the top. (side note: you can tell how old the photo below is by how long my hair was!)

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However, I almost always wear my version in a different way now—as a skirt! The yarn was just a little too scratchy to be touching my arms/neck, so I made an I-cord and wove it through the top band, then tied the I-cord at my waist. I added some leaves because, you know, I love leaves—I have no idea where I got the pattern for them, but the standard knitted leaf pattern seen here.

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I still wear this skirt fairly often—it’s great with a pair of leggings, and it’s nice when it’s just a little bit cool out.

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Sweater in Progress: Mrs. Darcy Cardigan

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My final green project is still on the needles! It’s the Mrs. Darcy Cardigan by Mary Weaver in Knits that Fit (and unlike most of my knits, this one required checking out a book at the library).With a title like that, it’s only appropriate to do a lot of tweaks to the pattern, right? It may not be obvious from the photo above, but I’m making the arms much longer than the pattern calls for to accommodate my arms and shoulders. I wish I had known before I made these that to get the true twisted rib, others knitters knew to p1 to back on the wrong side, because the pattern doesn’t indicate this and the ribbing on the cuffs won’t look as sharp as it could.

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I’ve since moved on to knitting the body. You’ll have to forgive the blurry action shot here, but at least it captures the true green of the yarn! (It’s Cascade 220, in, you guessed it, Spring Green.) I decided that since I have a long torso that is quite wide at the top, I’d use ravelry user wakenda’s modifications to get a gentler slope on the cardigan’s v neck, which I think will still be quite striking.

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I’m always a little hesitant to blog about my works in progress, but this partway knit green cardigan is too verdant not to share, and cardigans are great for spring weather. Hopefully this post will inspire me to finish it soon!

*bonus postscript announcement* If you read this far, you might enjoy the fact that I recently added categories to the blog, and then went back and retroactively categorized every past post! I created the categories based on what I seem to write about most, so you can find similar posts without having to scroll through past years.

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Food & Garden, Holiday Knits & Crafts

Spring part 1. April fools baking, Easter decorating

This is what happens when I put off posting on this blog: too many things to write about! I narrowed it down to just these two topics for the moment.

April fools baking: surprise sugar cookies

I’m a fan of (harmless) April fools pranks.. In my elementary school diary, I kept track of which jokes worked and which didn’t (turning on the windshield wipe and turning up the car radio in my parent’s cars before they went to work: yes getting anyone to drink the “lemonade” in the fridge that I made without sugar: no). So apparently I have always celebrated this holiday.

This year, April 1 happened to coincide with the season premiere of Game of Thones: Season 2. I was already thinking about making cookies to share for those of us watching it. But for some reason I remembered these cookies my mom made for us one summer: I remembered them as sugar cookies with a “mystery” center, usually something delicious like chocolate or peanut butter. So I set out to recreate these cookies, upping the ante. I would make ALL THE FLAVORS. Well, at least every flavor in my cupboard:

I used this recipe for the sugar cookie part, mainly because it makes a ton and I was going to use one cookie on the top and one on the bottom to make them. Coming up with mystery ingredients wasn’t too hard: I made most of them “good flavors,” as you can see: blueberries, chocolate, jelly beans, etc.

But I also made a few “bad/weird” flavors, like carrot, peas, and mustard.

The hardest part about doing this was rolling out and cutting the chilled dough (with a drinking glass) before it got too warm and sticky to work with.

The results? It really is hard to tell which is which! the responses I got were mixed, but personally, I liked the surprise factor. I ended up with extras, and I’ve been including a cookie with my lunch this week.  I had the mustard one yesterday…I can’ t believe I’m saying it, but that was a good cookie! Who knew?

Easter decorating on the cheap

I was cleaning my apartment the same day I was making the April Fools cookies, and I was inspired to do a little spring/Easter decorating when I came across a plastic Easter egg. Unfortunately, that was the only decoration I found. So I decided to get creative. I pulled out a grapevine wreath and decided it looked like a nest. Which meant that it needed some eggs:

Those are two of the eggs I used while making the sugar cookies. I had never blown the insides out of an egg before without using specialized tools, but after  googling how to do it and reading the first tutorial  I came up with, I found out that it was pretty easy. I used two different sized sewing needles to make the holes at either end, an unfolded paperclip to break up the yoke inside, and a regular plastic straw to blow the inside of the egg into a bowl. The eggs didn’t break.

After that, I decided I wanted something inside as well. As it happens I have some old calendars that I keep for arts & crafts purposes, and one of those was a Peter Rabbit calendar. So I cut the front and back cover off together and made a little standup rabbit to guard my one plastic egg.

I don’t know why, but I like having him on my coffee table. There was a little stuffed lamb there to, but Jo decided that was her new toy.

Ok, next post will be Spring Part 2: gardening post!