Thursday, April 23, 2009

MSCE April Update: Baby Sweater, Baby Sweater, List, Rant.

Well I didn't flag yesterday's Earth Day List as my MSCE post because I thought I would do something else- but I think I'm going to retroactively say this was my Make Something Cool Every Day Post for Wednesday...

Mostly because this "easy" Baby Sweater I'm making is not as easy as advertised. Here's how it went:

Monday MSCE: Start sweater. I am pleased with the "easy" all one piece pattern I found online. I knit a swatch for gauge and am pretty much right on. Yippeee!

Start the pattern, knitting is going amazingly fast! I measure for gauge (but I'm not worried I got gauge on the swatch) to find gauge has half left me. I'm getting it for length but not for width- it's now a little bit too wide.

I ponder how best to fix this- and come up empty since I'm getting length. Then decide babies are pudgy it won't hurt if it's a bit too wide- and at the worst this can be a toddler sweater if the adjust the arms and make everything longer. I keep knitting.

I knit away, feeling secure in the pattern, marveling at the speed with which the rows are piling up. Clearly I am in a knitting time warp- that is actually in my favor! I casually (perhaps with a hint if smugness) say to my husband- "look at how fast this is going, I'm already around the neck and halfway done with one arm".

Then I hit an instruction in the pattern that isn't clear to me based on the knitting I have so far. I begin to consider how this sweater will come together and realize I see another problem- the garter stitch cuff doesn't go all the way around, and if I follow the next instruction as written it seems I will have a sleeve almost as wide as the back of the sweater.

This seems wrong- but I consider continuing to knit. I have felt like something might be wrong in a pattern before, trusted that the designer has a vision that I don't yet understand and have usually had it turn out O.K.

I knit a few more rows and ponder this: It seems simple enough- and because it's so simple I actual think I get how this should come together and it seems the directions are wrong. But the pattern has been online since like 2003- with no errata mentioned. Maybe I really don't understand how this should come together and I should knit on for all to be revealed later.

In a huff of frustration I stop knitting and go to bed.

Tuesday: I read, re-read, re-re-read pattern. Look it up online and find nothing. Feel as though I might be a bit dull when the only note I find online about this pattern says this is basic knitting if you can't follow this you should get knitting for dummies. Now annoyed (O.K. more annoyed) I dig around online more-

Jackpot! (so to speak). I find small thread of message posts on the site I got the pattern from (and also from like 2003) asking what I'm asking. Turns out I am right, this pattern is wrong! Victory is mine... except now I have to...

Tuesday MSCE: Frog Sweater, Restart.

Rip out inches and inches of knitting and start back where the sleeves begin.

Restart sleeves with cuff on sleeve from the get-go.

P.S. I was thinking of what I could put at the bottom of this post as a "you might also want to read" cross link and it occurs to me that I may want to write and errata for this post.

Always Read The Directions, I think I want to add- but don't always follow them!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Top 9 Reasons For Crafters To Be Green

Happy Earth Day 2009!

Aside from the obvious benefits to the planet from being greener- here are my top 9 reasons for crafters to be green.

9. Now that you can get eco-friendly glues and paints there is no need to worry about what the "use in a well ventilated area" items are going to do to your brain. Cause lets face it- no one ever goes outside to use those things.

8. Being green takes ingenuity and creativity- we crafters love a challenge.

7. Being green saves money and we all know that us crafters are a cheap... I mean thrifty bunch.

6. If you sell your crafts upcycling also means upprofiting since your cost of goods goes way down.

5. Turns out that being able to do 7 or 8 things with an egg carton or an old juice box is a life sustaining skill and not just fooling around with junk. Didn't you always know crafting could save the world?

4. You can now spend more money at the craft store since you've saved so much money recycling. (buying responsibly- no excessive packaging of course)

3. When your significant other happens to see the bank statement and finds out how much you've spent at the craft store- you can point out how you are really saving money overall- with all of the reuse you've been able to work into crafting.

2. If global warming continues no one will need hats, mittens, scarfs, or sweaters. If you are a knitter or a felter who uses old knitting- this is a nightmare scenario!

1. What was formerly considered being a pack rat is now merely future opportunities for reuse

P.S. In honor of recycling here are two older posts you might enjoy again- or for the 1st time.

And a recycling craft- Soda Bottle Whirligigs

Sunday, April 19, 2009

MSCE April and the Last Day of Kids Craft Week: Pet Rocks

Today's post is a little late- but better late than never I guess. It turned out to be a busy day. The buying a new house bug has hit us, and while we aren't officially looking yet- we went a bunch of open houses to see what the market is like. We saw some not so great, and some really nice places. But it took a lot of time and we didn't see anything that made us want to pack up and move tomorrow.

Today for the last day of my kids craft week, I have... a Pet Rock.

I used to color and paint on rocks all the time as a kid. I loved to collect interesting looking rocks and pebbles on beach vacations or playing outside- some were interesting enough that I kept them as rocks, some just seemed like they wanted to be something else- a dog, a dinosaur, a rabbit, a turtle, or like today's rock from the garden- a crab.

It's been eons since I've decorated a rock- but there's something about them that's just too cute.

For this little crustacean I painted the rock red, while that was drying I dug through some mini seashells.

I found pointy ones that reminded me of claws and white ones I thought would make interesting eyes. For the claw I glued a smaller pointy shell inside a larger one. At the last minute decided on googly eyes instead of painted eyes so I glued those onto the white shells. 

Once the rock was dry I glued the eyes and claws on- and gave Mr. Crab a happy little smile with a sharpie. 

It might be a little soon to start thinking beach (at least in my corner of the world) but this is a great way to use of all those little treasures collected from a day at the shore.
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