Monday, March 28, 2011

Upcycled Easter (Ostara, Eostre) grass!!!

You know the stuff, right? The way-too-bright, crinkly-feeling, sticks-to-everything-including-your-jammies-and-hair plastic-y stuff the Easter bunny likes to line his baskets with? Plus if your cat eats it, the necessary emergency surgery to remove it from her intestines will be quite pricey. Well, that stuff has long been banished from Knitsburgh. This year, we are going with flannel. Scraps from Wee One's flannel receiving blanket collection. After making bibs from two of these blankets (squeezed three reversible bibs total from the two), there was some leftover fabric. Not enough for another bib. I had some other ideas of what I might make them into but this one won out. Maybe it was the colors in the blankets (green and white gingham; pastel colored polka dots) that sealed their fate... I grabbed the pinking shears and cut strips of fabric, just eyeballing it to the width I liked. How easy is that? Get your basket and throw it in there. It should last for years as the flannel won't fray either. It would be cute and rustic too with some leftover cotton fabric. The fun part is you can make it any color you like and use any scraps of fabric you have, from old t-shirts to sheets to sewing scraps!

Did anyone else partake in Earth Hour this past weekend? We did and I managed to finish the Owlie Hat by candlelight. I enjoyed the time with the lights off; Nature Boy even got out a book and read, I couldn't believe my eyes! He did promptly turn on the television as soon as the hour was up but we did leave the lights off. Here is Owlie Hat for Wee Too, drying with the Owlie Sleep Sack.

****For more info on Ostara, click HERE.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vernal Aspirations...

I finally finished the Owlie Sleep Sack for Wee Too. This involved ordering some additional yarn from Knit Picks as I was using up what I had left in my stash and of course, it was not enough. So two more skeins of the Organic Cotton Worsted Weight in Marshmallow arrived this week and I used about 1/2 a skein. Next up is the matching Owlie Hat (like the one I made for Compassionate Craft Week a while back). I wish you could feel how soft it is. I also wish I had enough time and knitting fortitude to fashion an adult sized sleep sack for myself...

These last few weeks have been trying at times. There was some concern due to dropping platelet count I might not be able to have Wee Too outside of the hospital but thankfully, a visit to a specialist remedied this concern and we should be fine to go forth with our current birth plan. Now I am trying to get Bill and Kay comfortable with driving to the Birth Center which means driving **gasp** in the city!!! Kay does not drive outside of a ten mile radius of her home. Bill has decided he will ignore my detailed, city dweller who knows how to get around the 'burgh directions and instead look at a map and arbitrarily choose random, out of the way possible routes through areas which:

  1. Involve heavy construction, certain delays and a closed bridge he believes will be open as it is "right there on the map."
  2. Sketchy neighborhoods it's best not to get lost in while you try to drive quite possibly in the middle of the night.
  3. Are places he has never ever even been before.

Now this really isn't much of a surprise; Bill ALWAYS has a "shortcut" meaning a longer route that usually takes more time and gas but for some reason he finds more appealing. I just thought due to the urgency of the sitch, he might try a more direct route while I'm in labor and waiting on them to arrive to get to our house or for them to meet us at the Birth Center. I really don't know whether to laugh or cry; I've done both for the last day or so. Basically, they are coming to care for Wee One while Nature Boy and I bring Wee Too into this world and it would be so much easier on my mind if I knew they could make it to the Birth Center without a problem. They are coming tomorrow so I can drive them to and from and get them comfortable with it. Wish me luck!!!

I've been trying to keep busy meanwhile. Under the super moon last week, the seeds for this year's garden were blessed in a ritual outside, then Nature Boy and I sowed them inside. Today, the marigolds and lettuce were sprouting already.

I am trying a radical new approach to gardening this year. Equal parts from the biointensive techniques of Jeavons and the knowledge of the indigenous people of this land, the Native Americans. I planned out the garden on paper...
...then Nature Boy was kind enough to accompany me outside, till the land a bit and help me set out the walkways separating the garden into three smaller plots. These plots will be (hopefully) jam packed full of veggies and herbs. I'm most excited about companion planting methods/knowledge and the Three Sisters plot, which will have corn, beans and squash planted together, which are are mutually beneficial to the others when planted thusly.
Wow, I've said a lot today! Lastly, I brought some forsythia in a few days ago and today they are brightening up this place something fierce! It's cold again here but not for long!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What up?

Just a few things to share from Knitsburgh of late...

Walk in the woods this past weekend.

From the front I look like normal...

Egad! From the side, you can see Wee Too is still on board. Sadly, no trillium were spotted yet.

New larger bibs sewn for Wee One. I used two different prints on each side so they are reversible. I also used different colored thread in the bobbin so each side has a contrasting thread for top stitching detail. Made fourteen bibs total.

These three are my favorites, made from two of Wee One's flannel receiving blankets. Love to upcycle! Each bib has one side of polka dots, one side of green gingham. Used brown thread for top stitching.

Knit up a Mikey Hat for Wee One. Modified THIS PATTERN which is for an adult head. The fit was good but... really needed a good blocking! I finished it the eve before the annual St. Pat's parade so I did not want to chance it still being wet. So it was worn with wonkiness, the stamp of handmade upon it! When it was worn that is, it came off several times. The plastic inside the brim is cut from an old plastic coffee can. We have a stockpile of these as Nature Boy's father cannot bear to throw them away or recycle them as they seem so useful so he saves them and gives them to us. We have also made a "drum kit" out of several of these in different sizes duct taped together; one is poised under the leaky sink in the bathroom; and several hold odds and ends like nails, screws, etc. If you need any coffee cans, you know who to call...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Hey Pittsburgh....

...the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History are FREE on Thursdays in March, from 3:30PM to 8PM. You can click HERE if you don't believe me. Parking is $5 after 5PM.

If you have never been to one or both, this is a fantastic opportunity to see what you have been missing. I have only been on the Natural History side myself so I can't wait to check out some art (after checking out the dinosaurs and mummies, of course). I can vouch for the Natural History side as being fantastic (and when I was there the dinosaurs exhibit was closed). We went to see the Bog People exhibit which was there at the time and I really enjoyed the rest of the museum as much if not more. Here is a list of the permanent exhibits at the Natural History Museum; seriously, there is something here for everyone! Happy Museuming, Pittsburgh!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Totally Random Baby Legs Pattern

What is cuter than a baby wearing a diaper and some baby legwarmers? These knit up quickly and are a good use for leftover yarns. Striped is my favorite, but solid, Fair Isle, argyle, intarsia or even lace inserts would work. Here is the basic recipe; feel free to spice it up as you like it!

Size: 0-6 months (3 inches wide x 9 inches long).
Needles: 5 and 7 circulars or straight (you could also easily knit these in the round and use double points here too--bonus, no seaming at the end!).
Fibre: Blue-green is Blue Skies Alpaca Skinny Dyed Organic in Mallard; cream is Blue Skies Alpaca Skinny Dyed Organic in Leaf; and brown is Aslan Trends Glacier Del Cielo in Espresso. The blue-green and cream are classified by the yarn manufacturer as DK weight; the brown is classified as sport weight. I would use anything you have leftover that is either of these weights with the number of stitches cast on. Of course if using a thicker fibre, you would need less cast on stitches, thinner fibre more.
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch; 8 rows per inch in stockinette.

With size 5 needles, CO 36.
K2, P2 rib for 10 rows.
Change to size 7 needles and K in stockinette until piece measures approximately 8 inches long.
Change back to size 5 needles, work 10 rows of K2, P2 rib.
Bind off in pattern.
Weave in ends and seam using mattress stitch to form a tube.
Make second legwarmer as first.
Find a baby to put them on and take some pictures and send them to all your friends (and to me too!).

*these directions are just the very basic instructions; for random stripes like mine, just use more than one color yarn and change it up as you please. My random stripes were dictated by the amounts of each color of yarn I had. If I were making a stripe of the same size, I would calculate the rows using the length and row gauge (7 inches not including the cuffs, multiplied by 8 rows per inch equals 56 rows; divide by four equals 14 stripes four rows wide; divide by two equals 7 stripes of four rows in two colors, etc etc). I would just plan ahead for whatever pattern or color I wanted to use. Unless I wanted solid, then I would just dive right on in!