Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I've been up to ...

I've been pretty quiet the last few weeks, haven't I?

Well, I've been busy. You see, I couldn't take my sewing machine with me on vacation, so I took my knitting needles and some yarn. It was great because I got an entire week to stretch my new knitting skills. I did cables, knitting on circular needs and double-pointed-needles, and I even made some tiny Christmas tree decorations (a sock and sweater).

I also nearly completed a collection of knitting needles and accessories, thanks to some great thrift store finds. I got some fabulous yarns, too. There were two different thrift stores that had several carts' worth of expensive yarn for great prices (mostly 75% off or better), and I had to restrain myself. :)

Since I've been back home, my hands have been wanting to keep knitting. :) As a result, I haven't taken the time to photograph my projects. However, here are links to a few of the projects I've finished or am working on:

Preemie Hats
Simple Sweater from a book I picked up at Tuesday Morning - I didn't care for this one as much.
Nena's Jacket - I've done this one in a few colors with no pattern (stranding), but I also just finished one with the pattern and I love it! The neckline is a little tricky, but I love the pattern.
Mochi Plus Doll & Sweater Hat - I've only done the sweater on this one so far, but I've done quite a few. This is easy and cute.
Cozy Slipper Socks - I finished one sock and have the second one about 1/3 of the way done. I lost steam on these, but I do plan to finish them. Next time I make socks (or slippers), I'll be doing them both at the same time.
Poppy Cardigan - This is another really cute doll sweater that I've made in several colors. I have my daughter's Christmas dolls coming in the mail (American Girl Bitty Twins - a splurge), so I'm not sure yet if they'll fit. If not, there are lots of other dolls around here that should be able to wear them. :)
V-Neck Doll Cardigan - I made this one without the stripes, but I can't really remember if I liked it much or not. I honestly can't remember which of the 10+ doll sweaters this one is. :)
Easy-As-Pie Shrug - I made this one with my niece's doll in mind, but it ended up being way too small. I think I used the wrong gauge of yarn.
Alpaca Sox Mini Socks - This is adorable and quite easy!
One-Skein Scarf - I used a thin yarn for this one to see how it would turn out, and it was pretty! It would be mostly decorative, though, since the yarn I used wasn't a warm yarn.

I've also found a few sweaters with great yarn at local thrift stores and have been unraveling them to use the yarn. Most of them have been really boring-looking sweaters with great yarn and colors, so I've been very happy. I can't bring myself to pay the prices for anything more expensive than acrylic, and I can't justify an awful lot of that. As a result, I've been thrilled to get a sweater's-worth of 100% lambswool for anywhere from $1.00-5.50.

I got a Nordstrom camel-colored cashmere sweater on Monday, and I'm having the hardest time trying to decide whether to unravel it or "felt" it and make a few cashmere scarves. (It's a men's size large.)

If you ever decide to try unraveling a sweater, let me give you a few tips:

  • You must use a swift, or you'll end up with nothing more than a tangled mess. Trust me on this one because I'm speaking from experience. Don't pay $50+ for one, though. I made one just like this one, and it works perfectly. I had everything on hand, so it didn't cost me a cent.
  • A yarn ball winder is an almost-necessity, but don't spend a fortune. I had one given to me, but I was planning to buy one. This Lacis version is the one I received, and it works great! This Oriental Touch version was also highly recommended to me. Joann Fabrics also has these on their website, so it might be cheaper to buy from them and use a coupon.
  • This is the best tutorial I've seen for how to deconstruct a sweater. I'd still like a better picture of finding the magic "unzip" thread (I still haven't figured it out, and I'm following the written instructions to the letter), but otherwise it's the best.
So now you know what has been keeping me busy this last little bit! :)

Don't worry, though. I haven't given up sewing and working with my beloved vintage sheets. As I mentioned earlier, we're getting my daughter Bitty Twins (brown hair, brown eyes) for Christmas, and they'll need lots of clothes. I'm working on knitting some sweaters right now, but I'm waiting for them to come before I start sewing for them since I need exact measurements for the boy's pants.

I agonized over these dolls since we don't usually spend that kind of money on toys, but this will be her main Christmas gift. All of the other gifts will likely be clothes I make for them. I looked all over for other twin dolls, but there aren't many choices out there. And none of them are the quality of American Girl, nor do they come anywhere near the cuteness factor.

Although I am a very thrifty person, I never want my kids to view me as stingy. When I saw the longing in my daughter's eyes the last time she looked at the twins in the American Girl catalog, I knew I would get them for her sometime. She has mentioned them several times now, and I know she's a good little mommy that will take excellent care of these two ... And you may just catch me playing dolls with her now and then! :)


jemilyea said...

I've been knitting, too! I tried teaching myself from online tutorials 2 years ago, but went to a class just last Saturday. I'll go for one more class, then I think I'll go back to online tutorials. I need to learn to fix mistakes. I'm "artbeth" on Ravelry. Are you a member there also? I look forward to seeing your projects--whether here or on Ravelry.

Christa said...

Oooh, I love to find people I know on online communities! Yes, I'm on Ravelry. I'm Sophia77.

I'm still learning a lot, but I'm a lot more confident now. I'm getting a lot better at ripping stitches out, too. :)

Simply Scaife Family said...

I miss doll days with my girls!
Sounds like you have kept quite busy and productive. One of my daughters knit beautifully, however, I can only do a little. Great Job!

Janets said...

I sewed several Christmas seasons from these patterns. I found them to be simple to sew, stylish, and just so much fun, I spent many happy week days sewing dolly clothes while the children were occupied. sweet memories :)

Janets said...
I have many happy memories sewing Bitty baby clothes from these patterns. they are very clear, stylish just plain fun. the fit well too.

Christa said...

Those are some neat patterns, especially since they're specifically for 15" dolls. Thanks for the link!